Friendship and purpose adds extra flavour to life for Heidi.

If you’ve ever enjoyed a delicious salad, sandwich or panini at Francesco’s Café – you most likely have Heidi to thank for it.

Heidi lives with a painful health condition, which requires daily medication. Together with frequently needing to use the bathroom, her health condition had become a barrier for her securing ongoing employment.

Until she joined APM Employment Services who support thousands of Australian job seekers with physical and psychological health conditions every year through the Disability Employment Services program.

"I feel independent and happy"

Read a full transcript of this video.

Getting back into the workforce

After raising her own family, working and even caring for her mother until she passed away, she felt in a rut.

Conscious of having a large gap in her resume “I would sit at home feeling sorry for myself and I wanted to go back to work and be around people rather than sitting at home all alone” Heidi recalls.

After just two weeks working with an employment consultant at APM, Heidi found a workplace which is understanding of her chronic bladder condition. The day after her interview and a brief job trial, she was offered the job in the café kitchen!

“My employers are great and I’m on a lot of medication, so I’m not rushing to the toilet all the time. My supervisor has been very understanding” Heidi said.

The Disability Employment Services program has given her the support she needs, and her work ethic has seen her grow and shine.

Her employer Jodie agrees, “Heidi’s fantastic. I actually didn’t know she had a disability.”

“When Heidi first came to us, she was quite timid, very insecure, nervous but also she looked excited to start working” she said.

On understanding Heidi’s capacity, Jodie said, “You have to be more aware, but we haven’t had any issues or concerns. She’s fitted in really well.”

"I look forward to going to work every day"

Just like a family

Heidi now has independence and is happily working in a team she describes as “just like a family.”

Working at Francesco’s has not only given her a spring in her step, she has also developed connections and friendships which have greatly enhanced her life.

“I look forward to going to work every day because I've become really good friends with my colleague Lil. We chat while we work, and it doesn't feel like work when you're there with your best friend.” she said.

Heidi has brought some super creativity into the café kitchen, designing one of Francesco’s newest staple menu items – the Lunch Pack!

After over a year as part of the café team, Jodie describes Heidi’s transformation:

“Her confidence has grown, her purpose, her drive to come to work. It’s just amazing to see the transformation over time” she said.

If you’re like Heidi and need support to find work, or if your employment has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, register with APM below to find out if you’re eligible for one of our support programs.

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