How we can change lives together

Elizabeth Smith first walked into an Employment Plus job centre in 2003. Since then her connections with our business, and the jobs and mentoring opportunities we’ve provided her, have literally changed her life.

Watch her story to see the true impact you can have on someone else’s life by giving them their big break!

For Elizabeth Smith, almost 15 years have passed since she began her journey with Employment Plus, but she remains extremely grateful for three distinct opportunities The Salvation Army’s employment service has provided her.

“I grew up in a housing estate in Burleigh Heads in Queensland. Life was not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but my sisters and I wanted to make sure we didn’t face the same challenges as mum. From the get-go we wanted a life with more choice.”

Through Employment Plus, Elizabeth got her first job with the Public Trust of Queensland.

“That was great until I had a bout of glandular fever and had to leave the job. I was unemployed for 12 months, I felt really down and I was talking to my sister one day and she convinced me to move down to Melbourne to be closer to her.

“I managed to find a contract with a company called Computer Share, but that expired after three months. So here I was again – at a loose end.

“Knowing how they’d helped me before I went to the Employment Plus branch in Sunshine and got stuck into any courses I could lay my hands on – MYOB, Contact Centre Operator – you name it!

“I was inspired by the words of my mentor: “Turn up here everyday. Treat this like it’s your full time job – your full time job is to get a job – and you’ll get one.”

“I kept applying for roles and finally got a position with Industry Funds Credit Control.

“A year later I was on annual leave and ran into an old contact at the Salvos. I had my eye on another job and so I asked them if I could use them as a referee. My working life before that had been so sparse… so this time I needed the help of the Salvos to get an even better job.

“Thanks to their help I landed the role at ME Bank. I’ve since worked at City West Water and I now have a great job at Western Water where I manage the Utility Relief Grant. This includes chasing bills and helping with bill relief / emergency plumbing for people in financial hardship.

“This job suits me to a tee. I know what it’s like to do it tough and I get an immense amount of gratification from both helping people… and helping them to help themselves. Help them find that resilience they need to get through a tough time.

But Elizabeth says it’s not just about overcoming tough times – it’s also about fulfilling dreams.

“I always had a beautiful voice but my mum, because of her constant unemployed status, couldn’t afford any singing lessons or for me to participate properly in choir or productions. I have since done all those things has an adult and it’s been a dream come true to bring my voice to life.

“A job helps you get these things. Not Centrelink. That might help with the immediate survival costs, but a job will help you achieve your dreams.