On International Women’s Day for 2019, we thought it would be appropriate to highlight the story of Kerri, who is one of our VERTO clients. Her journey into work hasn’t always been easy but her strength and determination is inspiring to us all...
Life for forty-eight-year-old Kerri hasn't always been easy. Diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Airways disease, diabetes, depression and a spinal disorder, finding suitable work in her home town of Bathurst, NSW, has long proved a challenge.
In 2017, Kerri came to the VERTO team feeling disheartened about her chances of finding long-term employment. "I felt like there just wasn't a job out there for me, and it was affecting my whole life. I wanted to find work and be financially independent and set a good example for my teenage son," she said.
The VERTO team assessed the skills that Kerri would need to secure employment, and noticed that for Kerri, confidence was a key issue. Over several months, the VERTO team took her through mock interview training and confidence-building activities to help Kerri find her feet and feel confident in herself. "After the training I felt like I could go to an interview and do well," she said. "It gave me the confidence that I could speak up for myself and answer their questions."
In October 2017, Kerri secured an interview with BIG W, the first professional interview she had attended in a very long time. "It was a bit scary," she recalled. "I wasn't sure I would do well, but I kept thinking back to what I had learnt and reminded myself I could do it."
Almost eighteen months on, Kerri still wears the BIG W uniform with pride. She enjoys her job in customer service and has more confidence at work and in everyday life, where she says she now feels comfortable to voice her opinions in a professional and polite manner.
Employment is big contributor to a person's feelings of self-worth, and this is no different in Kerri's case. Now living independently, and no longer receiving income support payments, Kerri says that having a job and her own income has made her feel like she can participate in and enjoy life more fully. "It gave my life purpose, and means I have less stress when it comes to the bills."
Kerri says that when you have been unemployed for a long time, it can be hard to know where to turn or how to ask for help. She says if she could give any advice to other unemployed people who may be struggling to find work, she would tell them to believe in themselves. "Don't doubt yourself, and never give up. It's okay to ask for help, and there are services, like VERTO, who can help you, not only with finding jobs, but having the confidence to go out and get them. Just believe in yourself."
To learn more about VERTO's programs to help you find the right employment opportunities, please click here.