7 October 2020 posted by Recovery Partners

Connect2Work creates opportunities to try something different, as Gemma found out when she couldn’t return to her old job as a factory line worker. *Gemma was a line worker in a factory when a lower back injury put her out of commission. ‘When I first met with Gemma, she had been recovering at work, but her employer said they couldn’t really find suitable duties for her any longer,’ says Recovery Partners Rehabilitation Consultant Cat Quan. ‘Because of her injury, Gemma’s ability to lift was restricted. She was undertaking an exercise program to strengthen her back, but her progress was slow and she simply couldn’t perform the physical tasks her job required. So, Gemma needed to find something else.’

Gemma was let go as COVID-10 swept across the country

Gemma was let go from her factory job in February, when COVID-19 was beginning to spread across Australia, devastating the employment market. ‘It wasn’t a great time for anyone to be looking for work,’ Cat says, ‘but Gemma was determined to make an effort.’ At the beginning of her job seeking journey, Gemma met with Sanjeev Lal, Recovery Partners Employment Consultant, to discuss strategies for seeking new employment. ‘Sanjeev helped Gemma update her resume and taught her some job seeking skills like canvassing. He also suggested that Gemma consider upskilling in administration to widen the net of jobs she’d be eligible to apply for. An administrative role  would also be good for Gemma as they generally don’t require much lifting.’

Gemma upskilled in Microsoft Office

Although Gemma had worked in admin before, it was twenty years ago, and Gemma knew her technical understanding would be out of date. So, she took Sanjeev’s advice and enrolled in a Microsoft Office computer skills training course online. As she progressed in her course, Gemma continued to find and apply for jobs she found online. Then, a chance conversation with an acquaintance gave her the opportunity she’d been waiting for. ‘Gemma was having a conversation with someone she knew in a community group. She mentioned she was looking for work, and this person said they’d like to help,’ says Cat.

Connect2Work gave Gemma an opportunity

It turned out that Gemma’s acquaintance was the Director of a local childcare centre. While she didn’t have the financial capacity to offer Gemma permanent employment, she said she could possibly offer her some work experience. When Gemma mentioned this to Sanjeev, he called the Director and told her about SIRA’s Connect2Work program. The Connect2Work program gives employers a financial incentive to offer a short-term placement opportunity to workers seeking new employment. Connect2Work creates opportunities for workers recovering from injury to continue their recovery in a work environment, building their capacity for tasks and acclimatising to the routine of work again. They can also learn new skills and explore new career avenues at the same time.

Gemma’s looking forward to her placement

After hearing about the Connect2work program, Gemma’s acquaintance offered her a four-week work placement in the administrative department of her childcare centre. Cat conducted a worksite assessment to make sure the duties would suit Gemma’s capacity, and gave it the go-ahead. ‘Gemma is due to commence her placement in a couple of weeks, and she’s really excited,’ Cat says. ‘Although it’s not a permanent job, Gemma’s pleased that there will be a stepping stone on her resume showing that she’s capable of work after a long period of not working at all.’ The Connect2Work program can also give workers the chance to upgrade the currency of their experience and get a reference from the employer that testifies to their efforts, Cat says. ‘I’ve seen how committed Gemma has been to the job search process, so I know she’s motivated and a hard worker. I’m sure she’ll do well in her placement, and I also think it will help her gain confidence in her abilities again. Connect2Work creates opportunities that can act as a bridge to permanent employment, even if it’s not at the venue of the placement. Doors open and workers make new connections. It’s got a lot of benefits.’ We wish Gemma all the best for her Connect2work work placement, and we look forward to hearing how it goes! Interested in Connect2Work?


If you’re an employer and you’d be interested in giving someone a placement opportunity through Connect2Work or you think your client would benefit from this assistance, get in touch!

Our services are available nationwide. For more information about our services contact us.

Our consultants love to have a chat, so go ahead and give us a call on 1300 OHS RTW (647 789) or email *Names have been changed to protect the identity and privacy of the individuals and organisations involved.

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