Grant came to Job Prospects Blacktown with severe social anxiety, which had forced him to leave a commercial cookery course when only half completed. He was finding it extremely difficult to handle pressure and while he was very keen to work in the hospitality industry, his social anxiety created a barrier which made interacting with customers almost impossible. His only employment option appeared to be back-of-house positions, which greatly limited his employment opportunities.

Job Prospects Employment Consultant, Scott MacKenzie, worked with Grant and his mother over the space of 4 months looking into various roles. After Grant was unsuccessful in many job applications with local cafes and an aged care facility, Scott thought he would greatly benefit from a people focused learning environment and a course that would extend him out of his comfort zone to break the cycle of people avoidance.

While looking for a course to give Grant some transferrable skills and experience, Scott began calling local RSL clubs around Blacktown to introduce them to Job Prospects and the Disability Employment Service (DES), in the first instance talking over the phone about the needs of the business and how DES job seekers could add value.

In interacting with employers Scott seeks to maximise the outcome for both the employer and job seeker.

“I need to make sure the business gains an employee who wants to be in the industry and is willing to learn industry relevant qualifications.

“This gives the business the best type of qualified employee and gives the employee the best advantage for long term career opportunities,” he said.

Scott established a relationship with David Skupien, Smithfield RSL Human Resources Manager. David was immediately open to taking on young people with a disability, with the understanding that they may require extra support within the working environment. Scott challenged some of the common stigmas surrounding working with young people with a disability, whilst also promoting the high level of post placement support that Job Prospects offers as a DES-ESS provider, which was really appealing to David.

David briefed Scott on the needs of Smithfield RSL, including the Bar Maintenance role he had available, detailing what it would entail, his expectations and what hours he could offer to a potential employee.

“Scott was excellent. He made it quite clear he had no intention of placing a square peg in a round hole. He screened his applicants and got back to me with a couple of formal applications.

“After further review I asked to meet with Grant. Grant was shy, but dressed to impress. He answered all my questions confidently, openly and honestly, he was willing to give anything a go. I remember leaving that interview wanting to give this young man a job,” David said.

David suggested that Grant talk to a contact of his at the local TAFE to discuss his interest in a career in hospitality. He was signed up on the spot for a Certificate 3 in Hospitality covering both back-of-house and front-of-house operations with a clear and succinct pathway to a Diploma of Event Management.

Upon completion of the manual handling course, Grant was offered permanent employment with Smithfield RSL, with a view to progress further – he couldn’t be happier.

“There have been a few changes for me during my time with Smithfield RSL. I now earn a weekly income, my confidence has grown and I am communicating well with workmates.

“My plans for the future are to learn as much as I can in my position and take the next step to advance my career,” Grant said.

With the assistance of David Skupien, Scott was able to negotiate the hours to fit around Grant’s study commitments to ensure a healthy work/life balance. Grant is a great testament to the perseverance Job Prospects and other DES providers put into working with their clients and prospective employers to bring about mutual benefit for them both.