Natalie found employment and independence with Northcott

By Kate Reid and Natalie Macaulay, 30 May 2019 , Comments

Former Northcott customer Natalie loves her job. It’s a job she’s been working in for eight years now and one she gained with support from Northcott’s Vocational Skills service (formally known as Transition to Work).

Through the service, Natalie learned important vocational skills like how to write a resume, how to tackle an interview scenario, and most importantly how to believe in your value in the workplace.

We spoke to Natalie to find out more about how Northcott has supported her throughout her life and how that support has given her the confidence to tackle life independently.

When did you first start with Northcott?

My mum discovered Northcott when I was a child and I started using their services from the age of five. As a child I would access Northcott’s Occupational Therapy service and appointments with social workers, as well as a play group once a week.

What support did you receive through the Therapy (OT) service and how did you find the service?

The services at Northcott have always been amazing. The staff have gone out of their way to support my needs and the needs of other customers. I always felt like my Occupational Therapists (OTs) were listening to the things I wanted and needed and always worked hard to support me until my achievements were accomplished.

My OTs supported me with accessing a powered wheelchairs or anything else I needed to ensure I was comfortable in daily living activities. As a child I received quite a few powered wheelchairs, which were customised just for me. These wheelchairs wouldn’t have been possible without assistance from the Northcott OTs. They made sure my seating was comfortable, or my leg splints were perfect, or everything in my home was right. They allowed me to grow up as independently as possible.

As a young adult you accessed Northcott’s Vocational Skills service. How did that come about?

I don’t actually remember how I got involved with Vocational Skills. I think it might have been a Northcott OT or a social worker at the time that mentioned it to me in a conversation about what I wanted to do when I left school. To be honest, at the time I had no idea what I wanted.

What did you learn through Vocational Skills?

The program taught me how to create a resume and other skills I would need once leaving school and becoming a young adult and most importantly it taught me how to be independent. I got assistance with things like mock job interviews which gave me knowledge and confidence.

Another aspect of the program involved staff supporting and guiding us to look for jobs, so we could find a career we would love for our future. The staff were so friendly and outgoing in supporting us achieve the best possible outcome. After quite a few job applications, they assisted me to find the perfect possible job for me!

I had a lot of ongoing assistance by the wonderful staff and a staff member named Vicki McClure always went above and beyond to make sure I was always on track with my tasks. She made my time in Vocational Skills very exciting and fun but kept me moving forward at all times.

What impact did Vocational Skills have on your career?

Once I completed the program I found a job and I have been in the role now for nearly eight years! It’s been absolutely amazing! I am a phone consultant for a car company. I take inbound calls, make bookings, process payments as well as answer all emails and enquiries. Northcott supported me to find an amazing job which I love.

Once I got my job and became more confident with myself I decided I no longer needed Northcott’s services. If it wasn’t for Northcott there is no way I would have known how to create a resume, or how to apply for a job, or how to even be confident within myself.

What has it meant to you to have the support of Northcott at different stages of your life?

Northcott’s services throughout my childhood and young adulthood have been exceptional. I feel anyone with disability will gain so much by getting involved with Northcott and the many programs and activities they provide. I have met so many people through Northcott events; many have become life long friends. My life would be very different if I wasn’t involved in such an amazing community for people with disability and it’s taught me a lot about myself as well.

Northcott has shown me I can do anything I want to do if I try hard for it!

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