What exactly does an AimBig Employment Job Coach do? We sat down with Lesley, an AimBig Employment Job Coach based in Townsville, to discuss what exactly her job entails and why she loves her role.
What does a Job Coach do?
As a Job Coach, I look for employment for people that have got disabilities, barriers and medical conditions, working closely with these individuals to find a niche position that suits both them and the employer. I specialise in mental health contracts, including anxiety, depression, and multiple personalities, as well as musculoskeletal contracts.
How long have you been a Job Coach?
I’ve been a Job Coach with AimBig Employment since June 2018 but have over ten years’ experience working as an employment consultant.
Why did you choose this line of work?
I have the gift of the gab. I’ve always worked with people. Early in my career, I worked as a nurse at a place called Cootharinga here in Townsville, back when it was a nursing home for children with disabilities. I then moved into geriatric nursing before making a career change and moving into hospitality. Whilst working in hospitality, I actually employed a young boy who was autistic. He really wanted to be a chef, and I helped him get to a third-year apprentice chef which I found very rewarding. I had a rapport with the support lady that was there, she was in HR, and she encouraged me to go into employment consulting.
What do you find most satisfying about your role?
The most satisfying thing about my job is getting an outcome. Seeing how people can have such significant barriers and then you help them find a job, and it gives them a purpose. It helps them in all areas – with their mental health, financially and socially – in pretty much all aspects of their lives. I find that really rewarding.
What, in your opinion, are the most important qualities of a Job Coach?
Listening and good communication skills are important qualities. You’ve got to have an understanding that everyone is different. You can’t have that blanket for everyone with disabilities; you really have to listen and think outside your square to what they’re going through.
What does a typical day look like for a Job Coach?
I have a calendar with job seekers that I do have to see – that would either be face to face or phone contact. I also spend my days liaising with employers, support workers and allied health services.
A big part of my role is working out the job market and any upcoming opportunities in the community. Face to face marketing is really important in my role – it’s too easy for people to say no over the phone, so I like to get out there and talk to employers.
No day is typical as a Job Coach as you can’t put a timeframe on someone’s life. Where you might have a fifteen-minute appointment, it may go for 45 minutes. It’s just about juggling all of these things to get the best outcome for my job seekers and their employers.
Has Coronavirus (COVID-19) changed the way you deliver your services, and what challenges have arisen?
I had to change my mode of thinking. People can look amazing while their mental health is suffering, it’s the underlying issues and I found it a challenge having to go to phone contact and not actually being able to see my job seekers. The lack of face to face, I struggled with. It got to the stage where my clients were saying “I’m fine, don’t worry”, but in reality, they hadn’t been out of their room for two days. I had to take a different thinking approach and find out what they had been doing so that I could see that they were doing well.
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