Connecting and Collaberating

Dorrie Day – Gladstone, QLD On the 3rd of August our Gladstone NJL team attended the 2023 Dorrie Day First Nations Careers Day. This is an annual expo where community members, jobseekers, students, and employers can meet and have meaningful conversations around local services and employment.
NJL were excited to have an opportunity for us and our First Nations participants to attend and connect with other jobseekers and community organisations. Mentors spent the day passing out flyers on Transition to Work and ParentsNext and chatting about the support NJL can offer, we also had a range of interactive activities, including cotton bag painting and a guess the lollies in the jar competition, that attracted a steady stream of keen visitors during the day.
The Gladstone team enjoyed being part of such a wonderful event, seeing some amazing cultural performances and meeting with so many who may benefit from the programs available through NJL.
NJL prides itself on connecting and collaborating with local community providers. In Hobart, we have created a service-based collaboration with Relationships Australia, and the Woman’s Support Service they offer.
The Women’s Support Service provides participants with an opportunity to identify, work on and overcome a range of nonvocational challenges as a key step in their progress towards achieving their education and employment goals.
Michelle facilitates the Women’s Support Service and describes it as an “extra layer of support”. The service can be delivered at the most convenient location for the participant, which is most often the NJL office where they already feel comfortable.
Michelle is very positive about the relationship with NJL which is built on the common underlying commitment to making a difference. Both NJL and Michelle have received positive feedback from those participants involved in the Women’s Support Service.
Up in the Northern Territory, NJL have partnered with Kullaru an industry training solutions provider that specialises in delivering operational driver training, professional driving and mining related tickets and occupational health and safety training. Our collaboration with Kullaru, has led to several participants successfully completing a variety of courses. Feedback from participants is overwhelmingly positive, with many feeling that Kullaru made them feel comfortable and supported to achieve their goals.
NJL and TasTAFE in Devonport have been working together to provide participants with quality skills and education through TasTAFE’s Cooking for Success and Connect to Education program.
These programs provide participants practical skills, increases confidence and motivation and helps to build clear employment pathways.
Keith Sanderson, TasTAFE teacher for the Cooking for Success and Connect to Education program said: “I have collaborated with Lauren from NJL over several years. We have discussed ideas for engaging participants in training that will lead to positive outcomes, and lead to employment…” Through continued partnerships with Relationships Australia, Kullaru and TasTAFE, NJL look forward to assisting and supporting more participants making significant strides towards their education and employment related goals.

 NJL offices supported RUOK? Day on September 14th, providing participants with a chance to engage with activities centred around mental health awareness. Art and craft activities, games of Bingo and delicious food, created a relaxed atmosphere for participants to meet and chat about their similar circumstances and have conversations around available support services in their local areas. Our Rockhampton office welcomed Helem Yumba Healing Services and Waraburra Community Hub, who provided information on their services and the kinds of support they provide. All the staff and participants who attended each event enjoyed themselves, having a laugh and taking time promoting positive mental health. RUOK? Day Good News Stories Jordan – Devonport, TAS As they were willing to take on a someone with no experience, Jordan’s TTW mentor contacted Jordan and discussed the opportunity with Loaves and Fishes. Together, we worked through Jordan’s main barrier of transport, negotiating for a later start time allowing Jordan to catch the bus to work, while Jordan continued to work at obtaining his licence. NJL also assisted Jordan with his Working with Vulnerable People card, purchasing work clothes and shoes suitable for working in a kitchen. NJL worked closely with Loaves and Fishes and Jordan to ensure that his first few weeks went smoothly. As a result of this close support, Jordan has now been working with Loaves and Fishes in a traineeship for over 6 months, with Loaves and Fishes supporting Jordan to gain his car licence. NJL congratulate Jordan on his hard work and wish him all the best with his continued work with Loaves and Fishes. During Jordan’s initial appointment with the Transition to Work (TtW) program, Jordan acknowledged he had some barriers to work on. These included no licence, only completing year 10 at school, having no work experience, as well as some personal barriers. Jordan was determined to overcome these himself, but he was also open to the support from the TTW program. We started with working on his licence and finding an employer willing to take on someone with no work experience and restricted transport. Not long into Jordans journey with TTW, we were approached by Loaves and Fishes, a free statewide emergency food provider, who was looking for someone reliable and interested in completing a certificate II in Kitchen Operations. Launceston | Burnie | Devonport | Hobart | Cairns | Gladstone | Rockhampton | Darwin NationalJoblink Quarterly News Darren – Launceston, TAS Zoe – Gladstone, QLD Zoe joined ParentsNext in 2022 with limited work history and confidence. She had a two-year-old daughter and wanted more to life than being home all day which was becoming detrimental to her mental health. Her ParentsNext mentor, Mandie, suggested Zoe attend NJL’s Wellbeing for Parents short course to build social connections and emotional resilience skills. Zoe enjoyed the opportunity to socially interact with others and her confidence grew over the weeks. Zoe wanted to enrol into a Certificate III in Horticulture and sought support from Mandie. Together they identified available courses and referrals for support with learning difficulties. Once Zoe enrolled, Mandie used the ParentsNext Participation Fund to purchase Zoe a laptop so she could compete assignments and attend online components of the course. Mandie also assisted Zoe with a referral to a Women’s Health Centre as she was struggling to find secure housing, and her mental health was deteriorating. Zoe had a drive to find employment, so Mandie worked with Zoe to create her resume. A few weeks later Zoe excitedly called Mandie to let her know she had a job interview with Bunnings as an Activity Coordinator. Zoe got the job and was starting her training straight away. Mandie was able to support Zoe’s transition back into the workforce by purchasing appropriate work clothes and boots through the ParentsNext Participation Fund. Mandie checked in with Zoe during the early days of employment and found that she was incredibly happy and that gaining employment had improved her quality of life significantly and enabled her to find secure housing. Mandie also checked in with Zoe’s Team leader who said that she was going well and was a great fit for the position. During a follow up appointment Zoe advised Mandie that she is now running the DIY craft activities for adults and children which she is enjoying and invited Mandie to a session she was running for Women’s Health. Zoe has made incredible progress since joining the ParentsNext program and NJL looks forward to hearing more about all her future successes. Darren joined Career Transition Assistance (CTA) at a crossroads, struggling to get interviews from job applications which was affecting his selfconfidence. Durning the training, Darren started to identify his transferable skills and look for roles in other industries that he had not considered before. Darren applied for a role with Chemist Warehouse, but unfortunately was initially unsuccessful. With support from his CTA mentor, he followed up for feedback, which then resulted in Darren being offered another position at different store. Through participating in CTA, not only did Darren successfully find employment, he also gained an understanding of the importance of following up on job applications and asking for feedback. Congratulations Darren on your new job, we wish you the best of luck with your future. Launceston | Burnie | Devonport | Hobart | Cairns | Gladstone | Rockhampton | Darwin NationalJoblink Quarterly News MEET THE TEAM Mandie Hunter – Transition to Work Mentor, Gladstone, QLD My name is Mandie and I work in ParentsNext in the Gladstone office for the Fitzroy region and have been with NJL for just over two years. I have worn many different employment hats over my years, unbelievably starting in the glamourous world of professional modelling (when I was a lot younger) while living in Brisbane, I did actually work with some pretty famous faces back then which was very exciting! I then went on to complete a Diploma of Community Services and a Cert 4 in Mental Health, primarily working in the youthwork sector for over 15 years including Residential care, Youth justice and Student Well-being which I was intensely passionate about. Now I love working with ParentsNext, engaging with, supporting, and assisting parents to address barriers, upskill and work on their goals. I believe in the program whole heartedly and feel blessed being a part of the parents’ journeys through ParentsNext sharing in the Good News Stories and supporting in the tougher times – I certainly wished that something like this had existed when I was a young struggling parent. Outside of work I have my partner, four beautiful children two adult children, a teenager, a granddaughter, and a foster daughter who I adore spending time with. Fun fact, I own a pet pig called Ziggy who we have had since he was a baby, my partner Leo and I walk Ziggy on a lead around the neighborhood regularly which people to love to see and often ask us for photos!! I enjoy travelling Australia, aqua aerobics and stand-up paddle boarding in my spare time being quite the water lover living in the Sunny state. Sue Bunker – HR Administrator, Launceston, TAS Hi everyone, I’ve been with NJL just a little over 2 years now, how time flies! In my position as HR Administrator, I’ve met mostly everyone over Teams, a lot of people think that the HR department can be a bit scary but if you know me I’m certainly not! I’ve been working in HR for the past 20 years but my working career has been varied. My first job was with Ansett Australia where I spent 16 years, starting off as the junior sales support assistant (being paid nothing as it was “work experience”) through to the CRS Manager. I spent a couple of years after that managing a holiday resort on the Sunshine Coast, then 13 years as the HR Manager at ECCO Safety Group in Launceston. I then moved onto Ashgrove Cheese (cheese, cheese, lots of cheese!) for a couple of years as the HR Manager until I landed here at NJL, and now I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. In my spare time I love to hang out with my partner and our fur baby Rudi, the 18 month old ratbag beagle. Luckily the local dog park is around the corner and we meet our doggie friends there on a daily basis. Rudi also loves to help in our vegie patch by regularly excavating (just helping Mum!) Robyn Plummer – ParentsNext Mentor, Hobart, TAS Hi, my name is Robyn. I have been with NJL in the ParentsNext contract for just over 2 years working with the team in Moonah, Tas. In those 2 years I have watched the program grow to become a stronger support system to our participants. I love seeing the participants using the tools we provide to achieve their goals. I come from an administrative and accounting background. With some hospitality and customer service thrown in. After work and on the weekends, I instruct fitness class. This will be my 10th year of doing this. We have a team of 7 instructors and many customers that come a long. We are a great strength to each other. Especially through Covid times. When I am not at work or at class instructing, I am usually at home trying to come up with new ideas for a Saturday family games night. Or watching something supernatural on TV, with at least one of my two cats sitting with me.

TtW Explore with Reclink - Launceston, TAS

Transition to Work (TtW) participants and Mentors had the amazing opportunity to undertake Reclink’s Explore Launceston – Youth Adventure, Resilience and Wellbeing Program, which was designed to push personal boundaries, improve health and wellbeing and build resilience. Over the duration of 6 weeks, they participated in adventure challenges including Kayaking, Escape Rooms, Beta Park Rock climbing, Paintball, Self-defense session and Hollybank Treetop adventures. Seven participants attended weekly, trying new skills and gaining new experiences which would have otherwise been out of their reach to experience. Participants built relationships with other organisations such as Youth Justice and Migrant Resource Centre. ​ As the sessions progressed each participant displayed more confidence to try new experiences and to push themselves out of their comfort zone. Since the completion of the program 2 participants have been successful in gaining employment and 2 more have future job interviews organised. ​ Such a fun and wonderful experience for everyone to be involved in and it was amazing to see their smiling happy faces return to the office after each session. A huge thank you to Reclink for giving this opportunity to our TtW participants.

Brand New Adventures - Cairns, QLD

Brand New Adventures started August this year and 12 students are on target to finish early 2023. Students, many under the age of 18, are continuing their successful journey to complete a Certificate II in Tourism and have been exploring the vast opportunities and experiences available in the local region. Some have also engaged in work experience with a few of the biggest tourism companies in Cairns, transferring new skills and building networks for a career pathway. Recently students completed a Reef Magic tour and a visit to the World Heritage Daintree rainforest which included Indigenous cultural experiences such as hunting on traditional grounds under the watchful eye of local Elder mentors from Kuku Yalangi Cultural Habitat Tours. In conjunction with Daintree River Cruises, they went on a crocodile spotting journey through the mangroves which them to gain insights into current tourism market. When the Brand New Adventures team are not walking in forests, snorkeling, observing reef research and mad tourists bungee jumping, they are otherwise focused on completing the Certificate II units to complete their certificate. In addition, the crew have been recording many of the experiences and producing VLOGS – which has assisted the young team in self-reflection, building presentation skills and confidence. The next part of the journey includes starting to identify employment opportunities, with students meeting with potential employers at every step in the program.

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