IGA and Ostara Australia help Athena overcome physical and mental hurdles to land a job
Fri 03, Jun 2016
Getting a job after a period out of work is always a relief. But for some people it can be a life changer – especially those who have had to face significant hurdles in finding a job.
Take Athena Kyle. When she first came to Ostara Australia’s office in Fortitude Valley, Athena had recovered from a car accident that had caused a degenerative condition of her neck and back that was restricting her movements and giving her pain. She was also dealing with an autoimmune condition. With Athena’s adult daughter falling ill, unable to work or study and increasingly dependent upon her for support, and having also separated from her husband, Athena’s financial pressures were exacerbating the mental health issues that she had lived with for much of her life.
However, when she arrived at Ostara Australia in 2014 the team there immediately identified that after working in a range of jobs during her life Athena had a number of transferrable skills, including good communications skills, customer service skills and a warm personality. They began working with Athena to improve her resume and to look for work.
Athena was grateful to be working with an organisation that treated her with compassion and respect.
“The first thing I noticed was the empathy they showed me,” she says. “They really listened to my story and what my aims were in looking for work. All the way through my time with Ostara Australia my consultants have looked for jobs that they thought might suit me and that I might be interested in.”
Ostara Australia found a vacancy as a Customer Service role at the Manly IGA supermarket and helped Athena apply. Manly IGA Store Manager Susan Kelly liked the look of Athena’s newly improved resume and decided to interview her.
“Athena was honest in saying that she had some issues with anxiety, and we said we accepted that but still thought she would fit into our customer service team really well,” she says.
Manly IGA has a strong history of providing employment and training to disadvantaged people and Susan believes the business can play a role in building a stronger community. The Federal Government wage subsidy that Ostara Australia was able to help IGA obtain was an added bonus.
Now, two months in, it has been a great success for all parties. “Athena interacts well with the customers and has been a great addition to the team,” says Susan.
As for Athena, she now feels much more financially secure and is learning skills that will help her career moving forward. This has also had a significant and positive impact on her mental health.
“Just having a job makes you feel more comfortable and secure,” she says. “My son has just moved back home and is looking for work, on top of my daughter needing some help, so any extra money I can earn helps take the pressure off.”
Ostara Australia is currently helping Athena undertake a business training course which will help build her vocational skills even further.
“I’m really grateful to Ostara Australia and IGA Manly for their support in finding this job,” she says. “It’s a great opportunity to learn new skills that help me in this role and could also help open up new employment options for me in the future.”
After a number of years facing a series of physical, mental and financial challenges, Athena’s future now looks much brighter.