A new career path for Jess

We all know that life doesn’t always go to plan, and these last few years have definitely been a rollercoaster for many people.

For Myhorizon participant Jess, the last few years have been an uncertain and anxious time in her life when her cake decorating business didn’t survive the pandemic, and she was feeling unsure and worried about her next steps.

After being referred to Myhorizon for a DES Program, Jess met with a Myhorizon Employment Coordinator looking for some support for her next career move.

“From the moment I walked into Myhorizon, I was made to feel safe, valued and a real person, not just a number.” Said Jess. “The staff at Myhorizon listened to me and my idea of getting back into the childcare industry and together we formed a plan to achieve my goals.”

With this support, Jess has been working at Edge Early Learning Centre in South Brisbane for the past year, and in that time has also gained the confidence to travel overseas on a holiday and recently sign up to do further study to build on her skills and eventually become a Group Leader.

“Without the weekly ongoing support, encouragement, and genuine willingness to help me achieve my goals from Myhorizon, I know I would not have made it this far so soon. I not only have a job but I have a career with real progression opportunities.” Said Jess.

“If you want to work and need that extra support to do it like I do, I recommend speaking to the staff at Myhorizon Employment and Training. They’re on your employment journey “with you, for you”, all the way just like their logo and moto on the wall states.” Said Jess.

Myhorizon’s Mt Gravatt site manager, Lisa Huntly, has seen first-hand the display of strength and resilience from Jess,

“It has been a long journey for Jess with many obstacles, but through it all she has maintained a positive can-do attitude. Supporting Jess to achieve her goals has been a pleasure for me and I’m so proud of how far she has come. I know Jess has more great things ahead in her future and I’m honoured to be a part of her employment pathway.” Said Lisa.

 

Vadim is job ready

For people with disabilities, the move from school to employment can sometimes be a challenging transition.

Which is why programs like the School Leaver Employment Support (SLES) program can be life changing for NDIS Participants like Vadim Ovchinnikov, supporting him to gain the skills and confidence to navigate his employment options and gain meaningful employment.

Vadim, now 20 years old, originally came to Myhorizon’s Specialised Training service in March 2021 looking for employment opportunities, having had no previous employment skills or history, limited workplace communication and literacy skills, and little understanding of social protocols.

Through the SLES program and with the help of his Myhorizon Employment Support Worker Aaron, Vadim was able to overcome these barriers, identify his career goals and learn essential job skills such as resume preparation, interview skills, independent travel, teamwork, time management and many more.

Vadim then gained work experience where he was able to implement some of these newfound skills in a real work setting, and also discover what areas of work he liked, all before landing a paid job he now enjoys at McDonalds, Birkdale.

“I like serving the drinks and talking to the customers. I also get to meet new people and the job gives me my own money.” Said Vadim.

Employment and Training Assistant Manager, Nikki Louange is part of a passionate team at Myhorizon who support Participants through this process,

“It’s about helping Participants build their skills, their ability and their confidence to enter the workforce and achieve their employment goals. It’s through this intensive 1:1 job support where we see many success stories”, Said Nikki.

“In Vadim’s case, we helped him to successfully gain an interview and secure employment with McDonalds which included supporting him at the interview, assisting him with understanding their rostering program and looking at transport options so he could get to and from work safely”.

For more information on SLES and our Employment and Training service, contact us today.

KFC honours Jackie for 20 years of service

Jackie Wilbraham recently celebrated a milestone, reaching 20 years of employment at KFC Wynnum.

A long-time participant of Myhorizon’s Employment and Training service, Jackie first walked through our doors in 2003, seeking some guidance, support and structure around her job roles and routines.

With the support of our Employment Coordinators and Support Workers over the years, Jackie has achieved a stable and rewarding long-term job, thanks to the encouragement of her family and confidence inspired by KFC Management.

Sandra, Jackie’s Myhorizon Employment and Training Coordinator, is extremely proud of Jackie’s achievements,

“With such long-term job security Jackie and her husband were able to purchase a family home over ten years ago, and more recently sold up and purchased their forever dream home. It was one of the many great moments in Jackie’s life.” Said Sandra.

“KFC has been a source of well-being to Jackie over the years. With their support and understanding, Jackie has become their most valuable employee”. Said Sandra.

Jackie’s 20-year anniversary was recently recognised with a big celebration at the Wynnum store in her honour. Well done Jackie!

Click here to find our more about our Employment and Training Services.

From surviving to thriving

For many, the pandemic has been a difficult time. But for Sarah, the last twelve months has been a positive turning point in her life, prioritising her wellbeing and landing a job with McKenzie Group Aged Care, where she’s now going from strength to strength.

Prior to Covid, Sarah’s outward disposition was her usual bright and cheerful self, but she also lived with extreme anxiety. Her fast talking and energetic bursts of chatter were also laced with frustration and tears.

As the primary carer of her young son with ADHD, Sarah was also busy completing her Certificate III in Aged Care, and soon after started looking for work, however her plate felt like it was overflowing.

“Although Sarah had the qualifications she needed to secure a job in aged care, after many meetings it was evident that Sarah wasn’t quite job ready”. Said Jodie McIntosh, Sarah’s Employment Coordinator at Myhorizon.

“Together we made a plan and Sarah took some time out to look after her physical and mental wellbeing, to put all her ‘ducks in a row’ and when she was ready, we would look for work.” Said Jodie.

Sarah took this time to focus on exercising, eating well, home schooling her son, and spending time with her mother and brother. After the second wave of COVID was over, aged care centres started to hire staff again, and Sarah felt ready to balance a new job with her other responsibilities.

“Sarah worked on getting prepared, going through possible interview questions and practicing being calm and focused. She landed an interview with McKenzie Group who offered her a casual position as a cleaner and laundry attendant, with a view to moving her into AIN work as she became more comfortable.” Said Jodie.

She went from strength to strength, building new friendships, undertaking weekly shifts and getting used to going to work. “Her job also helped her deal with situations at home because it made her feel empowered and gave her confidence.” Said Jodie.

Recently, Sarah has moved up to an AIN role with McKenzie Group and is revelling in her new found role and the freedom that her job has given her. When Jodie and Sarah meet up these days, Sarah looks healthy and happy, she smiles more easily and has renewed confidence.

“As her Employment Coordinator, I am so proud of how far she has come in twelve months. She did not give up, she prioritised her physical and mental health, and her family, and now she’s in a place where she’s happy and moving forward. She’s in charge of her future and she is proud of herself too.” Said Jodie.

Click here to find out more about our Employment and Training services.

Debra finds her calling

Working in a job you love is most people’s dream, but for Myhorizon client, Debra McIntyre, it’s become a happy reality, now working as a Food Assistant with McKenzie Aged Care – Capella Bay, Capalaba.

Having had various roles throughout her working life to support her family, last year Debra approached Myhorizon’s Employment and Training team at Wynnum, looking for new work opportunities.

With the help of Jodie Dickason, her Employment Coordinator, Debra was soon after taking on short-term paid work as a kitchen hand, and also volunteer work at Meals on Wheels to develop her skills, experience and new found love of food preparation.

“I could tell that Debra had found her calling, and knew there was a bigger and better role out there for her, we just had to find it. After a few months we found her the perfect position at Capella Bay where she loves going to work and contributing in a warm and friendly environment,” says Jodie.

Life is full for Debra, a single mother of three children, grandmother to eight grandchildren and most recently becoming a great grandmother, who still finds time to fish and spend quality time with her large family, but most importantly she enjoys contributing to society.

“This job has given Debra the ability to fill her bucket with a sense of purpose and belonging,” says Jodie. “It’s a perfect example that age is just a number and if you’re open to trying new things, who knows what doors may open for you”.

Thanks to this new role, Debra continues to flourish and has even planned a holiday to Sydney with her son to catch up with friends, something she has wanted to do for a long time.

Click here to find out  more about Myhorizon’s Employment and Training Service.

Myhorizon gifted $4000 from local Freemasons

A generous donation of $4000 was recently gifted to Myhorizon from local Freemasons Redlands Lodge 252 and their charitable arm, Hand Heart Pocket.

Photo Left to Right: WD Ken Rose – Secretary Redlands Lodge 252; Tim Walton – Social Enterprises Manager; Bush Pantry Café staff members Thomas Gregory and Michelle Menzel; and WD Russell Tedds – Chaplain Redlands Lodge 252

The funds were used to purchase a much needed commercial microwave oven for The Bush Pantry Café, Myhorizon’s award-winning Social Enterprise on Runnymede Rd, Capalaba, which employs many individuals with disability.

“Having reliable commercial grade equipment means that we can continue to provide high quality food and service that our customers know us for, so we are very grateful to the Freemason Redlands Lodge for this generous gift.” Said Tim Walton, Social Enterprises Manager at Myhorizon.

“The continued success of our Cafe means that individuals with disability continue to have meaningful employment, empowering them to gain a variety of news skills and experience, both in the Café, Myhorizon Event Centre and commercial kitchen, and so community donations are therefore always very appreciated.” Said Tim.

The donation from Freemasons Redlands Lodge 252 and Hand Heart Pocket was also used to purchase much needed new wardrobes for Myhorizon’s Accommodation service, where several of the Bush Pantry staff reside nearby in Capalaba.

Many local charities and schools have benefited over the years from the benevolence of Redlands Lodge, and as an independent charity founded by the Freemasons of Queensland, Hand Heart Pocket also collaborate with Masonic Lodges all across Queensland, helping in areas of statewide and local need that have limited access to other funding.

For more information about Hand Heart Pocket, visit www.handheartpocket.org.au or for more about the Freemasons in Queensland, go to www.uglq.org.au

Visit The Bush Pantry Café at Myhorizon, 1-15A Runnymede Rd, Capalaba – Monday to Friday, 8am-2pm.

Government Secretaries visit Myhorizon

What a pleasure it was to host a number of departmental secretaries, who requested a visit this week to Myhorizon’s Main Centre at Capalaba.

We were humbled to be able to take them through some of our wonderful facilities, such as our Cafe, Event Centre, and Packaging Room showcasing the hard work our supported employees do each day.

It was also a great opportunity to discuss NDIS related opportunities and challenges with Kathryn Campbell (the Secretary of the Department of Social Services), Renee Leon (Secretary of Department of Human Services), Kerri Hartland (Secretary of Department of Jobs and Small Business), and also visiting members of the New Zealand Ministry of Social Development.

The secretaries came together as part of the regular bilateral Australia-New Zealand Chief Executive Meeting (ANZCEM) this week.

 

 

Olivia on the path to greater independence

Gaining employment has been an empowering experience for local Cleveland resident, Olivia O’Donnell, who hasn’t let her intellectual disability stand in her way.

Thanks to flexible employers like Phaedra White who owns and runs Enhancers of Cleveland Hair Salon, 18 year old Olivia works regular weekly shifts where she helps keep the salon tidy and prepares some of the equipment needed by the stylists.

Since starting at the salon six weeks ago, Olivia now walks to work where she earns her own pay cheque each week, and is on the path to greater independence.

“I like working at the salon because I get to earn my own money and I can go to the shops and buy my own food or beanie boos’” says Olivia.

Olivia’s employer, Phaedra, initially approached Myhorizon’s Employment and Training Office in Cleveland, seeking someone to support her in her salon a few hours per week, and Olivia was quickly matched up as a perfect candidate.

“Olivia is very polite, friendly and caring, and we all love having her around” Says Phaedra. “I’ve also noticed positive changes in her confidence level, and her knowledge and skillset around the salon are also improving”.

Prue Saint, Olivia’s Employment Coordinator from Myhorizon Cleveland, has also seen a significant and positive difference in Olivia since starting her job at the salon.

“Olivia is becoming more confident with leaving home by herself now, and also improving in her communication with other people and being able to follow a list of jobs to be done. All those things are getting better each day.” Says Prue.

“It’s about placing people in the right jobs with the right employers and providing them with ongoing on-the job support and training so they have the best chance for success” says Prue.

As a local Redlands business owner, Phaedra also advocates for more local businesses to open their doors and minds to employing individuals with a disability.

“It has been so rewarding and fulfilling to have Olivia join our team, and we really appreciate her different perspective on things.” Says Phaedra. “I urge more businesses to consider employing someone with a disability as it’s a great contribution to the community as well”.

Click here for more information on Myhorizon’s Employment and Training services or connect with us via our online Contact Form.

Paul retires after 35 years with Myhorizon

After thirty-five years with local disability services provider, Myhorizon, Paul Ballard is officially retiring, and is excited about taking time out to enjoy the things he loves.

 

Paul joined Myhorizon as a service user back in 1984 when it went by the name of H.A.R.D and provided an activity therapy centre in Capalaba for local residents with disability.

 

“I remember back in the mid 1980’s when Myhorizon grew to include more service areas like Independent Living and Social Enterprises, which opened up supported employment opportunities for me.” Says Paul.

 

Paul talks fondly about his accomplishments within Myhorizon’s previous ‘Wire and Wood’ enterprise, where he contributed to product design, and was also the Social club’s Treasurer for a period of time.

 

Paul’s career at the organisation has more recently also included working for The Bush Pantry Café, The Event Centre at Myhorizon, as well as Myhorizon’s packaging and collating service.

 

“I’ve learnt lots of new skills over the years at Myhorizon, but I’ve also made many great friends who I’ll miss dearly. The people I’ve worked with are like a family, but I won’t be out of touch because I’ll still see them at Rec Club and Sunday bowling and some of my friends on the weekend. I’ve even agreed to help organise the Secret Santa like I have past couple of years.” Says Paul.

 

Paul says he has enjoyed his work life, but he is also very excited about now catching up on his TV and video games, and going for more walks and exercising at the gym.

 

Current Production Supervisor at Myhorizon, Troy Morton who has worked with Paul since early 2018 and supervised his daily work, describes Paul as a capable and helpful member of the team.

 

“Paul would often help others when he could, and he also had some great nicknames for members of the team such as ‘Happy Helen’, ‘Cheryl from the Navy’, and ‘Super Kev’. We will all miss his unique energy, but wish him all the best in his retirement.” Says Troy.