Chocolate & Licorice factory gives Waide a new lease on life!

Waide thought he’d never work again – until he was referred to local employment service, Job Centre Australia.

After working for well over ten years within the construction industry, Waide developed persistent pain and arthritis in his back and shoulders and was unable to continue his work. Being unemployed for some time, Waide began to lose confidence in himself, his future and his ability to work again.

“Doing construction, pushing wheelbarrows around, picking up bricks and all that sort of thing takes its toll. I started experiencing niggles and pains”, said Waide. “I thought my career was over, working in that area. I knew I had something left in me, but my confidence was starting to go down, thinking, what am I going to do? I haven’t been trained for any other industry.”

It was a tough time for Waide who experienced unemployment on and off over the last 15 years as his arthritis worsened. He sought help from several employment agencies over that time, all of whom weren’t able to provide him with opportunity for work. 7 months ago, he thought he’d give it another go and was referred by CentreLink to local Disability Employment Service, Job Centre Australia. Waide now describes his transition, with a smile. “I’m employed as a gardener, but if something needs to be done, a truck needs to be unloaded, everyone gets in and gives a hand. I could be packing chocolate one minute and mowing the lawns the next.” It’s just the right level of activity for Waide, who still wanted to be outdoors and actively moving about within the limits of his condition.

After working at the factory for over 6 months, he describes his role as his dream job. “It’s exactly what I wanted – Local area, good people, I couldn’t have asked for much more! I’d never got a job through an employment agency in my life. I was astounded, within the first month of signing up with Job Centre Australia, they took my needs onboard and fitted me with the perfect job here at Junee Chocolate and Licorice Factory. I can’t believe it, I thought my career was over, I feel rejuvenated, I’m back and I love it!”

Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory sell their products within Australia and overseas, employ over 60 people and have over 130,000 visitors per year through their beautiful building and gardens. General Manager Neil Druce commented, “Waide is such a wonderful addition to our team, he has so much energy and a brilliant attitude to work”, adding that he is now a valued member of the team.

“Employment can be really difficult to find in regional areas, particularly if you’re facing barriers to work, like Waide did with his arthritis”, said Job Centre Australia’s Area Operations Manager, Jenny Garnsey. “We help a lot of people in similar position to Waide, to find work. People often hear the words Disability Employment Service, and think they’re not eligible. We help people of all walks of life who are keen to get into workforce, but might need a little help identifying the right work, suited to their health condition, illness or injury. We just love seeing the smiling faces of our jobseekers when they’re offered a job but the best part is going back to see them in their role to check-in on how they’re going, and seeing how well they’re doing.”

If you too would like assistance to find work, give Job Centre Australia a call on 02 6921 8004