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From uninspired to inspirational, TJ isn’t looking back after ETC helped him overcome his barriers and transform his life with work

After being unemployed for three years, 34-year-old TJ was feeling little optimism about getting back into the workforce. 

He was living with his parents, had limited transport, and became disengaged after moving home from living interstate. He lost the belief that he could find a job.

Centrelink referred TJ to ETC’s Disability Employment Services (DES) Program for support.

ETC’s DES Program helps people with an injury, illness, or disability to find and keep a job.

When TJ first started working with ETC Advisor Jaralyn he explained that he had really lost direction.

“I felt lost. I had no direction, no accountability or responsibility. There were many times where I thought it would be like this forever. Unemployed and lost,” said TJ.

Some of the barriers he had to overcome included anxiety, PTSD, low self-confidence, lack of transport, and limited social networks. This was on top of other health conditions.

“I have a lot of anxiety and PTSD from past experiences. These things were major barriers for me, but I slowly figured out that if I can create barriers, then I am able to break them down too,” TJ said.

Helping TJ get job ready

Jaralyn worked with TJ to help him build his self-confidence back up, and then referred him to an appointment with ETC Recruitment Advisor Peter Stephens.

“During the appointment I listened to TJ’s story and realised I might have an employer who would be the right fit for him,” Pete said.

“This was a food processing business in TJ’s local area called Meltique Beef.

After recently completing a walk-through of the business, Pete had a clear idea of the role description and employer expectations.

He was able to explain the role to TJ, highlighting how it would link in with his strengths. 

“One big plus, for TJ, was that the role was behind the scenes and away from the public view,” said Pete.

This really appealed to TJ.  So, after discussing the position with his family, he came back and said that he was very interested.

Firstly, his resume needed updating and re-formatting. The DES team reached out to ETC JobLab trainer Debbie Mowle.

Debbie put together a professional resume that highlighted TJ’s strengths, previous experience, qualifications and current referee contacts. 

And they were able to get it sent off to the employer quickly.

How starting work builds confidence for TJ at Meltique Beef

Once he secured the position with Meltique Beef, everything started to change for TJ.

“I felt so excited when I got the job. Like all those thoughts of “I can’t do this, I’m no good, or I’m hopeless” – they all disappeared,” he explained.

TJ’s self-confidence and motivation quickly increased. The feeling of being “wanted”, really helped him improve his mindset.

“The best part is that I am holding myself accountable. I show up every day, and I work. I have a responsibility, and I am part of a team.”

“I haven’t had that nor been that person for a long time. So, I’ll pat myself on the back for breaking through those barriers. That’s the best part.”

TJ quickly grew into a confident, enthusiastic and reliable employee.

“He is always willing to learn new tasks, stay back to help others complete their work or lend a hand anywhere necessary,” Meltique Beer HR Manager Sandra Clayworth said.

“We would love 10 more of him!”

“He fits in well with other employees and is a positive influence on others. We look forward to watching TJ’s confidence continue to grow.”

TJ is loving work. He is physically and mentally fitter, has improved focus, his finances have improved, and he has purchased a vehicle and is planning for his future.

What are TJ’s goals for the future?

“TO ALWAYS BE EMPLOYED. To be someone that others can be inspired by. That’s good enough for me.

“If I can do it, you can too. You’ve got this!”

Do you want to talk to someone about the DES program?

Call our friendly team on 1800 007 400 or fill out the Enquire Now form on this page.

Disability Employment Services

ETC provides Disability Employment Services (DES) in QLD’s Gold Coast and the NSW regions of North Coast and Mid North Coast. To see if this service is delivered by ETC in your area, view our locations page – Find your closest ETC site >

You can also find a full list of providers across Australia on jobaccess.gov.au


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