Did you know that around 500,000 Australians are injured on the job each year? Some of these injuries can be extremely serious, resulting in significant time-off work, and other health complications. The longer someone spends out of work, the harder it can be to return. One man who had first-hand experience with this issue is Darren.
Darren was employed as an electrician for a mining company when he was electrocuted in an accident on the jobsite. Unable to work and scared to return to his trade, Darren applied for a Centrelink benefit. While his physical injuries healed, Darren developed mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, which he sought to treat with drugs and alcohol.
“The first thing I needed to do was build up a trusting relationship with Darren" Casey, Community Solutions Employment Consultant.
Community Solutions’ Employment Consultant, Casey, was assigned to work with Darren to help him find a job. Community Solutions is a Queensland-based organisation and member of the CoAct network. They provide an innovative and diverse range of employment services and complementary health and wellbeing programs.
“The first thing I needed to do was build up a trusting relationship with Darren,” explains Casey. “When we first met, he was very depressed, and was even physically shaking from his drug dependency.”
Casey then engaged fellow team member, Workforce Solutions Consultant, Lesley, to work with Darren. Lesley made time to really get to know Darren, and to find out what kind of work skills he had and what type of job would interest him. Despite his skills and experience, Darren understandably did not want to return to the electrical industry or work in any role that would require these skills. He was also very anxious about returning to the workforce, and had very little motivation to find work.
"There’s no point pushing someone towards a job they don’t want, just because they have the right skillset." Casey, Community Solutions Employment Consultant.
Says Casey: “It is so important to look at the whole picture, especially in cases like Darren’s. There’s no point pushing someone towards a job they don’t want, just because they have the right skillset. And you can’t overlook the other parts of their life either. We worked closely with Darren’s GP to develop a health maintenance program, and introduced him to counselling to help with his mental health.”
At first, Darren was quite reluctant to attend any appointments. But he had grown to trust Casey and Lesley and would call if he was scared, depressed or suffering from bad anxiety. Casey and Lesley would coach him through these periods, staying on the phone as long as necessary to support Darren.
Once they had established a good working relationship, Darren participated in work-skills master classes and other training programs. Lesley also helped him with one-on-one reverse marketing sessions. As Darren’s confidence grew, he started to attend job interviews. Understanding that a lack of motivation was still a factor for Darren, Casey and Lesley made sure he had interview-appropriate clothing, called him on the mornings of his appointments, to make sure he was awake and ready to go, and even drove him to and from the interviews.
A short time later, Darren was offered a small number of hours with a local manufacturer. Lesley initially continued to call him each morning before work, until he gradually got back into the work routine.
"Darren has now found fulltime work and is getting his finances back under control. He is much more positive and has taken control of his health, proudly telling Casey and Community Solutions team that he has ceased his drug use."
Darren has now found fulltime work and is getting his finances back under control. He is much more positive and has taken control of his health, proudly telling Casey and Community Solutions team that he has ceased his drug use. Understanding that a setback like losing his new job could drive Darren back into old habits, Casey continues to maintain regular contact with Darren, and is even helping him to obtain new workwear. “Darren came into the office this week, smiling and looking really well,” says Casey. “He is coming to terms with the fallout from his work accident, and his health is definitely back on track. He’s grateful to the whole team for all their efforts.”
If you know someone who could benefit from an employment services organisation that goes the extra mile for its clients, visit the CoAct website to find your nearest provider.