“Just be yourself” are the words that finally set Elizabeth Corrigan on the path to securing employment after 20 years out of the workforce.
Miss Corrigan was participating in the CoAct/SSI jobactive Community Kitchen Work for the Dole (WFD) program in Marrickville when she received a call inviting her for a job interview.
“I was so nervous when I got off the phone, my supervisor asked me if I was okay,” Miss Corrigan said.
Miss Corrigan explained to SSI Work for the Dole coordinator Nick Hislop that in the 1990s, when she was working, there were no resumes or interviews and that she didn’t feel comfortable about “selling herself” or “smiling” like other employment agencies had told her to do in that situation.
“Nick simply told me to just be myself, and it’s the best advice I’ve received so far.”
CoAct/SSI jobactive delivers the Australian Government’s employment service.
As a member of CoAct, and with its strong connections to employers and range of job-ready programs, SSI supports job seekers to become work ready, assisting them to find and maintain a job.
Community Kitchen is one of three Work for the Dole initiatives offered by SSI, and Miss Corrigan had been with the program for just two weeks before she got a job interview.
“Although I was with SSI for such a short time, they helped boost my confidence and it was the personalised service and support that they gave that really lifted my spirits,” Miss Corrigan said.
“Community Kitchen gave me practical, hands-on work experience and it was an opportunity to socialise and meet people from all walks of life.”
SSI Manager of Employment Services Terry Wilson said he could see the potential and passion in Miss Corrigan from day one.
“Elizabeth had applied for the job before she started with us, but I believe her time with us gave her the confidence she needed for the interview and to get her over the line,” Mr Wilson said.
Mr Wilson explained that Elizabeth had shared stories of her past experiences with job service providers that left her in tears and demoralised.
“SSI believes that job seekers need the empowerment of practical and realistic experience that our initiatives offer and we provide a tailored service for our clients, no matter how long they have been unemployed.”
Since it commenced on July 1, 2015, SSI has helped numerous people find paid employment and is looking for more job seekers, who live within 10kms of the Campsie office, to assist in finding employment.
Mr Wilson said, “we are struggling to find enough candidates for our employers in industries where prior experience and qualifications are not required.”
Miss Corrigan said she was really enjoying her new job and was given more shifts than she had expected.
“My colleagues keep telling me to slow down and stop working so hard, but it makes the time go faster and I feel like I’m somebody again.”