Dominic Gray (Dom) was a labourer for most his working life but due to injuries that had accumulated over time, he could no longer work in this field and became unemployed.
Dom approached Centrelink for help and was placed onto a Disability Support Pension (DSP).
“Despite my injury, I was keen to get back into the workforce – I didn’t want the DSP to be my way of income,” he said.
“I can’t just sit around, I have to be doing something and I’d rather be out there “making the bread” so to speak. Plus I’ve just recently become a father and would love to be a good role model for my son.”
Dom was referred to Disability Employment Service provider ETC for support.
“When Dom first came to us, he had a shoulder injury, was suffering from Bipolar and had some instability around his housing. We began working with Dom to find employment that best suited his capabilities and in return, help with his personal life also,” said ETC Disability Team Leader Jeanine Cusack.
“He was very persistent, brought a lot of energy and motivation with him. He applied for lots of jobs and although wasn’t successful for many, he just kept on trying.”
After undertaking various training programs with ETC, Dom felt more confident and equipped with the skills to approach local employers.
“ETC helped me to understand the interview process, how to present myself and the right code of conduct. They managed to get me an interview with Mr Minit at Ballina Fair and I was successful for the job. They even helped me with a uniform for my new workplace,” Dom said.
Even though this was a completely new industry for Dom, he took it in his stride.
“I was pretty much thrown into the deep end and I felt uncomfortable at first, but I just took my time and learned more each day. I started out slowly talking to customers and observing the other employees here, I learned about how to cut keys, carving, engraving etc and then eventually learnt more complex things like programming electronic remotes and watch/phone repairs,” he said.
“Every day I learn something new and I’m absolutely loving it. I couldn’t have found a better job to be honest.”
Jeanine and the team at ETC were thrilled for Dom having not only secured employment in a new industry, but for the fact that he was thriving in it.
“He’s so full of enthusiasm and you can really see that he loves his job. He is much happier in his home life, is enjoying being a father and his mental health has settled down too. It’s so nice to have played a part in this positive change in his life,” Jeanine said.
So what’s Dom’s advice for others looking to return to work after injury?
“If you have a disability or an injury, you might not be able to return to what you were doing previously, but you’ll eventually find something out there that’s right for you. Find something that makes you happy and then stick to it – because at the end of the day, there’s nobody else out there who can make you happy but yourself,” he said.
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