paint store man

4 September 2020 posted by Recovery Partners

Nicole helped a miner who’d experienced a significant knee injury to find work that wouldn’t be so taxing on his body, and he was so grateful he rang her boss to sing her praises!

When Nicole Aldred, Employment Services Consultant at Recovery Partners, first came into contact with *Peter, he’d been out of work for some time and wasn’t optimistic about his employment chances. ‘Peter had been a carpenter and then worked in mining when he sustained quite a significant knee injury,’ explains Nicole. ‘He’d always relied on his body and being able to perform physical work for a job. When he hurt his knee and then experienced a string of other injuries afterwards, it became clear that his body was putting the brakes on. He just couldn’t keep going in those sorts of roles.’

Nicole identified Peter’s transferable skills

Nicole’s role as an Employment Services Consultant at Recovery Partners is to help people understand what work opportunities might be available to them and then facilitate them to find that work. This might involve upskilling, retraining, resume writing, job interview practice and job canvassing. For Peter, extensive job canvassing was Nicole’s primary task. ‘First, I looked at Peter’s work history and resume to learn about his experience and knowledge. Then, I looked at what qualifications, training and tickets he had, and finally, at the transferable skills he’d built up over the years. These skills are just as important as what’s on someone’s resume, and it’s important to think laterally about how they can be applied in a new work scenario after an injury. For Peter, this meant finding a more sedentary role that still tapped into his knowledge base and substantial experience in building and machinery.’

Canvassing for opportunities

Because Peter lives in a small town in regional NSW, Nicole started by identifying local businesses that would suit his background. ‘I found places like hardware stores, chainsaw and mower repair outlets, farm machinery retailers, that sort of thing,’ Nicole says. ‘Then, I got on the phone and started calling them and telling them about Peter. I also gave them some information about SIRA’s JobCover Placement Program, which provides incentives for employers to hire workers returning to the workplace after injury. Peter was eligible to participate in that program.’

A warm lead, but then COVID-19 hit

For several months, Nicole canvassed tirelessly on Peter’s behalf. One of the top businesses on her list was a local hardware store, who seemed interested when she spoke to them in December of 2019 but were too busy to take on staff then. ‘I understood it wasn’t the right time, but it was a small labour market in a small town, so I wasn’t going to write them off completely,’ Nicole says. She stayed in touch and gave them a call every now and then to check in. Then COVID-19 hit, and the labour market was compromised even more. ‘Peter was starting to think he might as well give up, at this point,’ Nicole says. ‘He’d been job seeking for a long time and it wore him down. His self-esteem had taken a real battering and the pandemic made things feel even more hopeless.’ But, Nicole wasn’t ready to give up yet!

Work trial and JobCover paved the way to employment

‘Peter presented really well; he was a good communicator and really well-spoken,’ Nicole says, ‘so, I kept bringing him up with this hardware store, not harassing them but staying on their radar. I was confident Peter would be a really good fit for them.’ Nicole’s persistence paid off, and the hardware store contacted Peter for an interview when the immediate threat of the pandemic had begun to recede in their location. ‘Peter did really well in the interview,’ Nicole says. ‘The hardware store operators called me straight away after it and said they’d love to have him. We decided to start with a Work trial program first, before moving onto JobCover and then eventual employment for Peter.’ The Work trial program is another SIRA initiative that gives workers recovering from an injury the opportunity to gain experience in a placement with a new employer in a short-term arrangement. ‘Work trials are a good way for both employers and employees to get to know what the worker’s capacity is like as they recover,’ says Nicole. ‘It’s low-risk for employers and it’s also a good way for workers to do some work conditioning, especially when they’ve been out for a while like Peter had.’

Peter praises Nicole to the heavens

Peter begins his work trial in the coming weeks, and Nicole is quietly confident that he’ll be employed at the hardware store sooner rather than later. ‘The work trial will allow Peter and the store operators to decide how many hours of work would suit them both,’ Nicole says. ‘They’re happy, they know they’re onto a good thing with him. Because of his knowledge and experience, Peter can speak on a level with tradespeople that come in as well as guide the DIY enthusiasts who need a bit more help. For his part, Peter is really grateful and feeling a lot more optimistic.’ In fact, Peter was so relieved to be turning a corner that he rang Recovery Partners to draw attention to Nicole’s efforts and let everyone know how hard she’d worked for him. This made Nicole blush a lovely shade of scarlet when he told her. Peter thinks it was a fairly good match for Dulux Pink Parakeet, but he’ll have to check the paint samples when he’s at the store…

Nicole says she was just doing her job

‘It’s a bit embarrassing to get that praise when I’m just doing my job,’ Nicole says, ‘but I’m really happy things have worked out so well. When you’re injured and recovering at home, you tend to focus on your pain and what restrictions you have. But when you’re working, you’re back out in the world, doing something meaningful with your time, which always feels better. I know Peter’s really looking forward to the customer service side of things, being able to help people and connect with his community again.’ Hear, hear! Congratulations to Nicole and Peter on this great outcome. If you’d like to refer a client for employment services or other rehabilitation services, get in touch.  If you’d like to see the colour Nicole turned when Peter rang her boss, check out the Dulux ‘Passion in Pink’ collection here.


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*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals involved in this case.

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