In 2019, 52-year-old Denise Mitrovic was working as a professional cleaner, a career she enjoyed, when an unexpected health diagnosis changed her life and employment options.
“I went to the doctor with back pain and was eventually diagnosed with sciatica, which explained the debilitating pain in my lower back,” Mrs Mitrovic said.
The diagnosis meant that the Bathurst woman could no longer keep up with the physical demands of working as a professional cleaner.
“I couldn’t do my job anymore, and this came as a significant blow, not just to my work and income but to my confidence as well,” she said.
“I was reasonably new to Bathurst after moving from Sydney when my husband passed away, so I didn’t know the job market very well and was unsure what my new health condition meant for my job prospects.”
In 2021 she was referred to Bathurst-based not-for-profit employment, training and apprenticeships service provider, VERTO. Mrs Mitrovic says working with VERTO Employment Consultant Claudia Limon was a game-changer.
“Claudia was incredibly helpful and supportive from the outset. She took the time to understand how I was feeling and what I needed out of my next role,” she said.
Within a month, Mrs Mitrovic was introduced to the owner of Blooms Chemist, where she interviewed for a job as a retail assistant. A week later, she was offered the position.
“I was so surprised. My experience up until that point had been in hospitality and cleaning, but one of my strengths is working with people, and that’s important in a retail role.
“I’ve just celebrated one year with Blooms, and it’s honestly the best job I’ve ever had. I couldn’t be happier,” Mrs Mitrovic said.
VERTO’s Claudia Limon says every job seeker is different, so it’s about working with each individual to understand their interests and motivations to help prepare them for their next opportunity.
“From the outset, Denise was incredibly keen to get back into the workforce, but serious health conditions can be a blow to anyone’s confidence,” she said.
“So, we worked closely to understand her passions and interests, explore avenues for potential jobs, and rebuild her confidence to prepare for a return to work.”
Mrs Mitrovic says she is incredibly grateful for VERTO’s assistance and encourages anyone needing support to reach out for help.
“Claudia found me the opportunity at Blooms and helped me look at how I could succeed in the new job with my condition, which was a great help.
“Most of all, though, she believed in me and has been so supportive over the past 12 months, and that has been invaluable,” Mrs Mitrovic said.
VERTO’s CEO Ron Maxwell commended Mrs Mitrovic for the commitment she has shown over the past 12 months.
“It’s wonderful to hear about clients like Denise who work hard to overcome adversity to find meaningful work that brings them joy,” he said.
“AT VERTO, we pride ourselves on changing the lives of our clients through employment, training and apprenticeship services, and Denise is just one example of how our team continues to help those who need it most.”