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Surprising Stories

New Learning New Career New Beginnings 

Moving from the Philippines and not knowing where to turn next brought Theresa to IMPACT. She has been participating with the Personal Helpers and Mentors Program (PhaMs) Employment since June this year and now has a whole new beginning in front of her. Theresa originally worked as a professional photographer and a registered nurse in the Philippines, however her qualifications were not recognised here in Australia.

Theresa arrived in Australia in 2014, but has struggled with many barriers including language and communication, customs, social isolation, and separation anxiety from her close-nit family. 

PHaMs Employment support worker, Sue Maclean-Kahtri, said Theresa is now well on her way to living the life she deserves. “At first she found it extremely difficult to talk about her situation. She felt shame, and believed that she was the one to blame for all the negative elements in her life. Months later, her confidence has increased considerably and she has just this month graduated with a Home and Community Care certificate three. For a person who appeared to be timid and quiet, she is now making plans for her future and is moving full steam ahead.” 

Theresa has been earmarked for employment to start in the new year and her life prospects are looking optimistic, particularly now she has a whole new skills base. “It has been a wonderful support coming to IMPACT,” she said. “I have learnt so much and I’m really looking forward to a new job.”

Mechanically sound - Mental health employment support

When people struggle with a mental illness, moving forward is sometimes hard to foresee. Basic daily activities are confronting, getting dressed, going outside, shopping, communicating and especially maintaining a job can all be big hurdles to some. At IMPACT, the Australian Government-funded Personal Helpers & Mentors (PHaMs) Employment Services work closely with people who face adversity, helping them move into a more secure lifestyle, which includes employment.

Logan came to IMPACT after a referral from Centrelink; he had been struggling with his need to fit in or find work. He was introduced to Jenny. Jenny took the time to understand Logan's situation; she listened to his story, built rapport and supported him through his decisions to pursue a new path. Logan had always enjoyed tinkering in mechanics and knew that this was an area he could work in. Through Logan's own determination and commitment, Jenny and Logan networked widely and eventually Logan met Gary from Forklift Repairs on Enterprise Street. A position was negotiated and Gary decided to take on his first-ever apprentice. Logan is now in his first year of a mechanics apprenticeship and has reached some huge milestones already, which include attaining his forklift ticket and proudly boasting a 98% result for his first unit at TAFE.

Logan had previously had difficulty with reading and writing. By finding a private tutor and working closely with Jenny, he was able to overcome this barrier, particularly when he sat for his forklift licence. Jenny said she has seen a huge improvement in Logan's attitude and a newfound enthusiasm. Logan's confidence and self-esteem have improved immensely. "I am so proud of him - I can't tell him enough," Jenny said. "It's been a big turnaround. Logan is now able to handle everyday life challenges and has built some fantastic skills with his new job. He even purchased a flood-ruined cheap car and has done it up to immaculate condition - it looks amazing!"