20 years ago I was this organisations first Employment Consultant. 20 years on and there are more than a hundred people making real differences in the lives of those they are privileged to assist.
I am inspired by their stories and by their dedication.
Just this week I heard about one such worker who is faithfully starting work each day at 4.00am. Why? Because the person that they have placed in work starts then (an apprentice) and this person needs someone to be with them a fair bit right now as they adjust to eth world of work and learn the skills that will make them a great employee.
I asked how long my staffer felt they would need to get up at such a time and they replied, ‘only for the first month or so, and then I will be able to cut back and bit and just be there for the start of the day’.
The staff get paid for doing their work and I am constantly impressed by their willingness to put the needs of the people that they support before their own. We have many hundreds of testimonials to this effect (it’s still good to see it first hand). If you have a look at our ‘working for NOVA’ page (http://www.novaemployment.com.au/Nova/WorkingForNova/) you’ll see that we try and put as many people off of applying as possible – the job’s tough, it’s an emotional rollercoaster and only folk with tremendous levels of dedication, patience, initiative and enthusiasm have the ability to succeed.
This week I had the chance to have dinner with some 16 members of the NOVA team (Forster to Post Macquarie) and their immediate family. I get to make a speech at such events and this was no different but the words to genuinely express the appreciation I feel for those folk that have made the decision to engage in this life changing work are hard to find and I am not sure that I did the teams justice.
Collectively they are finding about 2 people a job each work and they work in a fairly disadvantaged area with pockets of high unemployment.
Perhaps the right words are left to the parent of one of our new workers who told me, “I just never thought that (my son) would have a real job, I have been worried sick about how things would turn out and right now I am just about the town’s proudest parent”.
Her son has an intellectual disability and left school in October last year. This week they signed up for a 4 year apprenticeship with a major Australian company that tell me they have a fabulous employee. I have to tell you that it felt great to hear both speak.
And I get paid to come here!
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