You can catch local man Peter Rae at the Gulgong Newsagency a few days each week, often having a laugh with customers as they buy the daily newspaper. Now the 57-year-old retail worker is ready to share his own experience in an effort to inspire others, opening up about his health challenges and his successful employment journey with VERTO.
In 2018, Mr Rae was working as a labourer in Mudgee when his health started to deteriorate quickly and significantly. He discovered he had a brain tumour and was immediately sent for emergency surgery.
The road to recovery was tough and took more than six months. As a person who loved working and being self-sufficient, Mr Rae knew he wanted to get back into the workforce as soon as he could.
“When I returned to work, my manager at the time told me I had to do a full physical examination, and with my condition, I already knew I wouldn’t pass,” he said.
“I was then referred to VERTO’s Disability Employment Services team to help support me and work through this period. It was the best thing that could have happened – now they are like my family.
“They put me through several training courses including Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA), Responsible Conduct of Gambling (RCG), as well as two computer and machinery courses. Now I guess you could call me a jack of all trades!”
This fully-subsidised training through VERTO proved pivotal for Mr Rae, helping him successfully gain employment as a retail assistant at Gulgong Newsagency. He loves being surrounded by his local community, and that love is reciprocated.
“Peter has brought an outgoing personality to the workplace. He engages with our customers and has brought a sense of joy and fun to the shop,” Gulgong Newsagency Manager Fiona Mobbs said.
“Peter goes above and beyond for our store, even coming in to give me a hand on his days off. He was made for retail! I do not know why he was a labourer for as long as he was.”
VERTO CEO Ron Maxwell added, “Mr Rae’s road to recovery and dedication to getting back into the workforce and giving back to his local community is really inspiring.”
“VERTO is passionate about helping job seekers to reach their training and employment goals, knowing that everyone’s journey is different.
“It is great to see Mr Rae recover and then reskill and regain the confidence to get back into the workforce. His story is very heartwarming and should inspire people in all conditions to reach out to VERTO,” Mr Maxwell said.