Spoilt for job choice

By Luisa Bustos, 17 December 2018 , Comments

As the year draws to a close, customers in our Vocational Skills and School Leaver Employment Support (SLES) programs across NSW are wrapping up the year with events to celebrate their achievements.

Nineteen-year-old Thomas (pictured above right) is a customer from our Wollongong SLES program who certainly has something to celebrate. One of Thomas’ goals for 2018 was to get a job. Recently he received two job offers in the same week!

“One job is at a café in Oak Flats which is managed by a former staff member from Northcott. The other one is at The Fraternity Club,” Thomas says.

Thomas, who has a learning difficulty, is “heaps excited” to get offered a job and is now deciding which role to pursue in 2019.

“I think I’m going to do the Frat Club because they want to build me up,” says Thomas. “All of the people are nice. I’ve made some really good friends over there. They take really good care of me.”

Thomas says other participants in the program were also offered jobs – a great achievement for everyone.

“A few of us have got offered jobs,” said Thomas. “My close friend got offered a job at a café as well, so that was pretty good.  I felt happy for them.”

After finishing school in 2017 and attending some ‘taster days’ with Northcott, Thomas decided to sign up to our SLES program to get job ready and build his self-esteem.

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I finished school,” he explains. “I just want to get out of there like everybody. I was a bit worried about the future.”

Throughout the year Thomas has attended the SLES program three days a week, while also completing work experience every Thursday at The Fraternity Club, supported by Northcott.

“Every week is a bit different at Northcott,” he says. “I’ve enjoyed learning new skills and making new friends. I’ve learnt how to be job ready, what not to say and what to say and what’s appropriate. We’ve learnt how to work in a team. Things I didn’t really learn at school.

“My favourite part of coming to Northcott has been learning new skills and hanging out with my friends,” says Thomas. “Before I came here I didn’t know anyone – I’ve met them all through Northcott and we’ve become good friends.”

Thomas says that going to the SLES program has improved his self-esteem and supported him to better manage his mental health.

“Just being able to be myself has really helped,” he says. “When I was down, being able to ask for help and getting psychologist appointments has been good. Northcott has supported me by encouraging me to do well in life and by teaching me all the skills that I need to go to work.”

When Thomas starts his new job it will be his first paid employment. Not surprisingly he is already thinking about how to spend his first pay cheque!

“I like my sport and music so I’ll probably put my pay towards going to sporting games or concerts or stuff like that…and helping family out as well.”

As for next year, in addition to working, Thomas hopes to return to Northcott’s SLES program and encourages other young school leavers to consider it if they want support to get job ready.

Related content

Want to read other stories about customers like Thomas? Check out how Northcott has supported Greg through Vocational Skills training.

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