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From boredom to big smiles

John has been supported by AimBig Employment Mackay during 2023, and throughout his tenure in the Workforce Australia programme, he encountered challenges engaging and participating effectively. Dealing with Depression, Social Withdrawal, and Anhedonia posed significant hurdles for him in attending appointments, setting goals, and envisioning a future. Despite his kind and gentle nature, John struggled to envisage a positive outcome for himself.

In August, John faced difficulties meeting his activation requirement, leading to his referral to the Work for the Dole (WFD) programme. This initiative offers participants the chance to showcase their abilities, contribute to the local community, and develop skills essential for securing employment. The initial WFD programme he joined lasted only a few days before he discontinued attending and exited the activity, as it wasn’t the right fit for him. Following discussions with John and some invaluable guidance from Sammi, our WFD Field Officer, John was given the opportunity to undertake a different WFD activity with the Whitsunday Foodbank.

John completed every day of his first week in the WFD programme and visited the AimBig Employment office at the end of the week to express his newfound enthusiasm. His face beamed with the broadest smile, and he even showcased a little dance, a sight never witnessed by the team before. For John, this experience meant more than just getting out of the house; it meant socialising with others, collaborating with volunteers, and forging new friendships. He felt a sense of contribution to the community, believing that he was making a real difference. For the first time in a long while, John experienced genuine happiness, all thanks to the Work for the Dole programme and a focus by our AimBig team to provide tailored person-centred solutions to each of our clients.

His aspirations have taken a positive turn as he aims to secure paid employment, mirroring his Work for the Dole activity tasks—picking, packing, and stock rotation.

John is an excellent example of how the Work for the Dole programme and a person-centred approach empowers individuals and allows them to develop skills critical to the workplace to apply them within paid employment.

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