KIRSTY FINDS HER PLACE – and A JOB SHE LOVES
Based on the saying, “find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,” 25-year-old Kirsty Gill is pretty sure she’ll never have to work again.
She’s one of the world’s lucky few who genuinely rises every morning and looks forward to what her working day will bring – and Kirsty’s pretty adamant that she’ll be happy to do the same thing for ever more.
As a support worker with WDEA Works’ Steam & Clean enterprise in Warrnambool’s central business district, Kirsty helps with the administration of the bustling car detailing business, which is an Australian Disability Enterprise with 20 employees; 18 of which have a disability.
“Picking up and dropping of cars, customer paperwork, time sheets, sales reports, that kind of thing,” Kirsty explains.
But that’s just how her job reads on paper. What her position description doesn’t outline is that every day, Kirsty is part of Warrnambool’s happiest workplace; working with, with hard-working colleagues who genuinely care not only about their workmates, but also the work they do, and the customers they serve.
“My job’s awesome,” she says, matter of-factly. “This is the work I want to do for the rest of my life.
Kirsty’s path to her dream job – and a clear purpose in life – began in 2014 when she enrolled to study the Certificate IV in a Disability Services with WDEA Works’ training division.
“I just loved it,” she recalls of her time as a student. “The placement was the best part. I spent time with WDEA Works’ Artlink program at Albert Street in Warrnambool.
“That was the first time I really felt like I had worked out what I wanted to do.”
Kirsty loved it so much that, once she completed her disability training, she continued to volunteer at WDEA Works Albert Street site as part of Work for the Dole placement. This placement was also where she was introduced to WDEA Works Steam & Clean operation. Kirsty soon decided the supported employment environment was where she wanted to be.
WDEA Works’ had identified the young jobseeker’s rapport with the members of the tight-knit Steam & Clean crew, and her commitment to supporting people with a disability. At the same time, strong growth meant the enterprise needed someone to provide further assistance within its office. A business traineeship was the solution, with WDEA Works partnering with Westvic Staffing Solutions to offer Kirsty a traineeship in Business Administration.
This meant Kirsty could make her passion for working with people with disabilities into a career – and develop her skills at the same time.
Under the wing of Westvic Staffing Solutions and WDEA Works, Kirsty embarked on a 12-month traineeship, undertaking structured training in key areas of business operations, such as time management, customer service, workplace health and safety, quality and continuous improvement, and desktop publishing. At the same time, she gained invaluable on-the-job training in, and exposure to, Steam & Clean’s vital procedures and workplace culture under the expert tutorage of Steam and Clean site supervisor Aiden Murphy.
Westvic’s Apprenticeship Employment Network Operations Manager Brendan Hawkins describes Kirsty as the model trainee, achieving exemplary reports from her trainers and supervisor alike for her work, attitude and attendance. “Kirsty’s effort was first-rate right from the start.”
The admiration goes both ways; Kirsty remembers how her Westvic Supervisor was well-in-tune with her work routine, on-hand when she needed, but willing to let her find her own way around the role, and how best to apply what she was learning.
Brendan explains this pragmatic approach to training has become the hallmark of Westvic’s delivery, and a key reason behind its success.
“Each year, we see more than 300 trainees and apprentices find their place in the local employment landscape, often working in with other providers and agencies like WDEA Works. These kinds of partnerships deliver good outcomes that ensure well-trained and well-adjusted employees and satisfied employers who are happy to invest in this path to ensure they have good staff with the right skills.”
The gain in the workplace has been that while Kirsty has upskilled, she has also been able to develop a strong rapport with her colleagues, fitting in well with the Steam & Clean workplace.
“There’s people I work with who weren’t sure about me first, and didn’t really talk to me, because I was unfamiliar” she remembers of her first few months at Steam & Clean. “Now, the same people who were unsure about me are really opening up and talking to me; I know that they trust me, that they enjoy me being there as much as I enjoy being there.”