For Mudgee local and proud Indigenous man, Maxwell Nelson, getting back into the workforce after being unemployed for almost two years has been life changing.
Thanks to support from not-for-profit employment and education organisation VERTO, Mr Nelson has a new spring in his step and a new role as a process worker with local manufacturer, Thunderbird Ag.
The 41-year-old was long-term unemployed before he moved to Mudgee earlier this year. After being referred to VERTO’s Employment Services Team, his consultant Brooke Gonano was surprised by Mr Nelson’s difficulty in finding work given his obvious desire to re-join the workforce and his outgoing and friendly persona.
“He didn’t really think our team would be able to help him as he had almost lost hope in the system, but we got Max into a hospitality skillset course, and from there, we had him hooked,” Ms Gonano said.
Excited by the possibilities training at VERTO would provide, Mr Nelson and Ms Gonano got to work, preparing resumes and prepping for interviews. Mr Nelson built up the courage to visit Thunderbird Ag and hand in his resume in person, and much to his surprise, he secured an on-the-spot interview.
“I walked off the street into Thunderbird Ag with my resume, and like we had prepared, I just sold myself,” Mr Nelson said.
“The team at VERTO advocated for me, showed me kindness I hadn’t been shown previously and were so helpful. They bent over backwards to help me with anything that I needed to get me into work.”
Mr Nelson’s skill, dedication, hardworking attitude and quality mentorship have seen him quickly learn to work with metal and electronics in the early part of his job with Thunderbird Ag. He has just landed a new full-time contract that he hopes will progress into a permanent position soon.
“Within just one month of coming to VERTO I now have a consistent income and, when I get my provisional licence later this year, I hope to have saved enough for a car to get me to work instead of walking in the rain, hail or shine,” he said.
“This would not have been possible without Brooke and the team. I could never repay them for what they have helped me achieve.”
VERTO CEO Ron Maxwell believes Mr Nelson’s story is an inspirational one for all job seekers, and one that should encourage others to seek help when they need it.
“It can be difficult and extremely daunting to get back into the workforce when you have a gap on your resume, but Mr Nelson is proof that anything is possible and help is at hand,” Mr Maxwell said.
“This is a wonderful and inspiring story of perseverance. I’m proud that the highly skilled VERTO team in Mudgee were able to help Mr Nelson upskill and reskill and provide him with the skills and confidence he needed to successfully approach a local business for employment.”
Mr Maxwell said a number of new and increased funding measures announced in the Federal Budget last week would make hiring long-term unemployed jobseekers much for affordable for local businesses, and should give jobseekers increased optimism of finding meaningful work like Mr Nelson.