Image source: The Standard
APM Employment Services participant Kathryn has been featured in the local media after overcoming multiple barriers to employment to find a rewarding new job.
Kathryn from Warrnambool, featured in the The Standard, said her health issues and anxiety made her terrified to look for work, but with help from her local APM team through Disability Employment Services, she was able to find the support she needed to find a good job.
Read the report originally posted in The Standard, below…
A south-west resident's job-hunt success with the help of a disability employment service seeks to be an encouragement for others.
Kathryn Thornley had been out of work for almost two years and due to anxiety, a lung condition and a nerve pinch, felt like she had "nothing to offer" employers.
"I wanted to go back to work, but my lung capacity was so much lower, and with my neck issue, I didn't know whether I'd be able to," she said.
"My self esteem was so low that I couldn't walk into an interview and say choose me, because I felt dishonest.
"I felt like I was lying to employers if I went in there and said I could do this really well."
The Winslow-local sought assistance from Advanced Personnel Management (APM) disability employment services in Warrnambool which simplified the job-seeking process and made applying less daunting.
"We sat down and talked a couple of times and (they) got out of me the things that I'm good at and what I like to do," Ms Thornley said.
"(They were) able to pick what I needed and pick the perfect workplace that could support what I needed.
"They helped negotiate with an employer and let them know that I wasn't up to full standard."
Ms Thornley said APM gave her the confidence she needed to re-enter the workforce.
"I was terrified to even apply for a job," she said.
"APM helped me do that and were very encouraging."
APM Warrnambool business manager Eliza Sully worked closely with Ms Thornley and said the experience helping Ms Thornley find work was "really rewarding".
"We've seen a lot of growth from her from when she first came to APM to where she is now," Ms Sully said.
"Not just financially but with her health as well, and how having a job has helped change things for her in terms of her home and family life."
Ms Sully said it was great to have local businesses like Warrnambool's Bojangles who were open to collaborating with disability employment services.
"They were really willing to help and be accommodating to her and what she needed for work," she said.
She said a lot of businesses could learn from inclusivity.
"Employers are quick to write off people with disabilities, which is really sad," she said.
"Sometimes they're the best workers because they are so motivated."
Ms Thornley said her self-esteem was much higher now she had a stable job and was grateful for Bojangles' support.
"I have a big smile every time I go to work. I now feel like I'm worth something," she said.
"I hit the jackpot with Bojangles.
"With my difficulties, they work around that. My manager Jeremy has been amazing."
Ms Thornley hoped her experience would encourage others with disabilities or injuries to use disability employment services.
"I couldn't have done it without Eliza," she said.
"I really hope that those who genuinely want to work come to a place like APM, because they can help find you the perfect place."