When Aiden joined the program, he had never finished high school and he had been registered with Centrelink for 313 weeks. This essentially means he left school and went straight onto a payment. His limited work experience meant his soft employability skills, such as Communication, Initiative and Team Work, were low.

In his own words, he was “angry, frustrated, and had no trust”. He was angry and frustrated that he could not find work and he had no trust in a system that had essentially failed him for 6 years.

Almost immediately after starting with the Sticking Together Project, Aiden secured a job. Coaching helped him to form a strong bond with his employer and assisted him to learn how to be a worker. Basic, but important actions such as turning up on time or letting his boss know he would be late were all things Aiden needed to learn as part of building his employability skills.

young man at work packing box high vis shirt

Establishing the bond with the employer was important because, during coaching, Aiden suffered an injury that kept him out of work, but importantly he did not lose his job and he maintained the desire to work. By the end of the program, Aiden had been in the same job for 56 weeks. He was promoted to a full-time position, given leadership responsibility, vastly improved his employability skills, worked an average of 33 hours per week, and was able to successfully transition off of Centrelink payments completely.

Importantly, when we followed-up with Aiden three months after the program ended, he was still in the same job, still independent from welfare payments, and working even more hours.

When we asked Aiden about the impact of the program, he spoke about the significant change that had been achieved across multiple aspects of his life.

I’m the first person in my family to work full-time… My wellbeing improvement has increased so much. Working full-time I have no stress about money, I don’t smoke much anymore, I have more energy, I feel proud of myself and now I look forward to every day. People say I look different now that I’ve been working for a while in a good way which makes me feel great.