Out of work since 2012, John has faced many barriers — including his disability — that have led to anxiety, lack of self-confidence and little hope. Now armed with the right support and connections from his Disability Employment Services (DES) Recruitment Partner, Wendy Hannan, John’s story has changed.

John, a machinery operator from Calliope, has ridden the wave of long-term unemployment. “Some people say that money isn’t everything but it’s pretty hard to survive without a decent income. You’re not going to have the quality of life and the satisfaction that you’ll achieve without being employed,” John says.

He met with a lot of employment providers but felt all they did was take down his name and contact details. Then he approached Community Solutions and met Wendy, his DES Recruitment Partner. At first he was very quiet and withdrawn. John has a disability and has been sick for a couple of years due to injury. He felt like he was going nowhere.

“He came to us with very little hope and job prospects, he didn’t think he would ever be able to find employment or find a career path in his chosen field,” says Wendy.

John’s confidence soared when Wendy found him his first job in years. “Within the first couple of weeks, she found me employment. I mean, it was only temporary for three or four weeks but I was just so over the moon about it. That sort of broke the barrier and put me back into the workforce,” he says. Wendy says that John has grown a lot.

He’s now more confident and he’s more financially secure. “He’s always very positive and feels that he’s been pumped up a little bit and there is hope!”

John says that Wendy went out of her way to find him a job and he’s grateful for her support.

“I was so pleased with her that as soon as I got my second week’s pay, I actually bought her a bunch of flowers!”

Wendy found John his machine operator role. He’s now working five days a week helping build a local school in Calliope. “It’s what I do, you know, that’s what I’ve been doing for 20 years. I wouldn’t still be doing it if I didn’t like it,” says John.