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Success Story: Resilience and determination

When Gary returned to Australia in 2021 after spending an extended period of time in Thailand, he found that life has changed. It was the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and Gary was required to quarantine in a hotel upon return, which left him over $3,000 in debt, and with no job or income, he had no way of paying it.

Before travelling to Thailand, Gary was self-employed as a taxi driver. He had spent 24 years as his own boss without any need to learn the technology that could be considered necessary, or at least common, in daily life. The current way of searching for and applying to jobs online was completely foreign to him.  The current processes utilised for job search activities such as understanding recruitment requirements, tailoring resumes and cover letters to different industries, addressing a job ad, and applying for jobs online were a challenge for him.

Eager to learn, Gary joined our Career Transition Assistance (CTA) program online and immediately engaged in numerous self-directed online activities. With limited technical skills and no access to a word processing application at home, the process could have overwhelmed Gary, however, he kept his positive attitude, actively participated in the training, and was committed to learning new things.

Despite his outward confidence, Gary often referred to himself as ‘uneducated’ as he hadn’t pursued any formal study since he completed high school in 1979. During his one-on-one sessions with his facilitator, he worked on setting new goals and putting a plan in motion for the future.

Together they looked through each of his skills to see which of his skills and experiences were transferable and could be used in other jobs than driving. This started opening a whole new world for Gary as he began to see the service that he provided the community as a taxi driver in a whole new light. Soon he realised that the skills that he had been using every day as a taxi driver and his personal life experience caring for his late uncle made him the perfect fit for Aged Care!

Gary felt that his personal experience and his genuine interest made it an amazing opportunity to begin a new career in a growing and in demand industry. He worked with his facilitator to polish off his resume highlighting his transferable skills and began the process of setting up an online job profile and obtaining a Unique Student Identifier (USI) so he could take on further studies.

Gary’s facilitator recommended that he contact some RTOs that provided government-funded Aged Care courses, and within a week Gary had enrolled in a Cert III in Individual Support at First Base Training in Parramatta.

Every day Gary’s confidence grew as he continued to successfully complete his coursework online, an achievement that he considers to be his greatest achievement since finishing high school. After completing his Cert III he enrolled in a Cert IV in Aged Care and Cert II in Disability Support.

Unfortunately, Sydney lockdowns threw a wrench into the works, and Gary was told he would need to wait to finish his qualifications, as he could not complete the practical work required to obtain the certificates. But this did not stop him!

Gary organised a meeting with his trainer so that they could assist him in contacting multiple nursing homes so he could volunteer, with the hope of getting his practical hours completed. Armed with cover letters and expressions of interest Gary set out to various locations.  

Gary is now working for Staff Solutions, which has placed him in various jobs and positions at nursing homes, one which he has been working at regularly since the end of 2021.

Amazingly, Gary’s computer literacy still continues to grow and improve, to the point where he has been given additional responsibilities – including data entry!

We are thrilled for Gary’s hard-earned success and, frankly, in awe of his resilience, determination, and commitment!