Employment offers a new beginning for Michelle – WDEA Works Maryborough

Life is beginning to look up for Michelle Ray who has had an incredibly challenging few years. Her life as she knew it was turned upside down when her partner passed away unexpectedly in May 2020. At the time Michelle was his full-time carer whist also going through her own battle with breast cancer. Michelle’s treatment has included major surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and the removal of lymph nodes in her right arm.  

With her unexpected change in circumstances, Michelle also found herself with less financial support and didn’t know how she was going to be able to pay her mortgage and bills. In April 2021 Michelle learned her health conditions meant she could receive support through Disability Employment Services (DES) and enlisted WDEA Works Maryborough to help her with finding employment.  

Michelle treatment means she has a busy schedule filled with medical appointments, she was sceptical about finding an employer who would understand this and provide her with the flexibility she needed.   

Michelle was teamed up with Kenny O’Connor a WDEA Works Employment Consultant to support her search for employment.  

“When I first met Michelle, her confidence had been rattled by her health and the fact that she has spent so many years out of traditional employment while supporting her partner as a full-time carer. I was happy to support her with whatever she needed, initially, this was just providing a listening ear,” said Kenny.  

Slowly Michelle’s confidence returned, and she sat down with Kenny to seriously assess her employment options. They updated her resume and looked at her skillsets and strengths.  Michelle had previous experience working in a food van and manufacturing firm and with an outgoing and friendly disposition, she is great at customer service.  

Armed with this information Kenny worked with WDEA Works Business Development Officer Kym Wright to identify businesses where Michelle’s skills would be an asset and the hours would work for Michelle.  

Kym helped put them in touch with the Carisbrook General Store and they met with Skily, the store’s owner.  

Skily was so impressed with Michelle she created a role especially for her with hours to work in with her other commitments. The interview was on a Monday with Michelle having her first shift just two days later.  

At the store Michelle has quickly become part of the team, helping restock the shelves, working the register and providing customer service.  

Gaining employment has made a huge difference for Michelle. “After everything I’ve been through, picking up a job right away was a big boost for me. I’m loving the role, meeting new people and learning new skills, it feels like a whole new beginning. I’m also able to catch up on my bills and don’t have to worry about how I’m going to pay my mortgage,” she said.  

Kenny and Kym are so happy Michelle and Silky have been able to come together for this employment opportunity.  

“Michelle is a really nice lady; you can tell finding employment has lifted her spirits. It’s also great that we’ve been able to help Skily at the Carisbrook General Store to find a great employee,” said Kenny.  

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