When Jane* first met with Employment Plus in May 2021 she was doing it tough. She was suffering from anxiety and depression and was also worried about the mental health of her teenaged daughter.

Jane had previously self-medicated with drugs, was in a rehabilitation program and served out her parole. Her last job was at a supermarket – seven years ago.

Having been out of work for so long only increased her anxiety when it came to job hunting. Jane found it hard being out in public and even suffered a panic attack when she dropped off her resume. The team could see she needed a lot of support and kindness as she healed and got her life back together.

“A week before her first interview with us she was in the hospital with stroke-like symptoms. It was clear she was really stressed. We provided her plenty of encouragement, some financial assistance for work clothing and a listening ear,” says DES Regional Manager, Debi Bennett.

“Despite her nervousness, whenever there was an opportunity for a job Jane was highly motivated, which she said was because she liked the feeling of self-worth having a job brought. The way she has worked through her mental health challenges is nothing short of inspiring.”

By October that year, Jane had settled into a part-time job as a casual retail assistant, working 2-3 days a week at a national retail chain store. As time went on other sites requested her to cover shifts. Her confidence quickly grew, she won employee awards and within three months she was offered an assistant manager role.

Jane is now working full time and is her local store’s manager. By the time she celebrates a year of employment, she’ll have already hired new staff to work alongside her.

“As part of our post-placement support we have checked in on Jane and her employer several times and we’re so pleased to get great feedback from both.

“The promotions she has enjoyed speak for themselves, and the best thing has been hearing how happy Jane is and how grateful she is for her job. To think she is now sharing job vacancies with us and will become a valuable employer helping others on their employment journey is wonderful. It’s just another fantastic chapter to the story, really,” concludes Debi.

*Not her real name