“I hope my story helps someone out there find their forever job like I have.”
Aboriginal Elder, Jacqueline has overcome years of domestic violence to land her dream job in administration with Strong Women Talking, a not-for-profit organisation supporting women to manage their trauma and forge a life free of violence.
Jacqueline had suffered through violent relationships during most of her early adult life, until she was able to break away in her early thirties.
“I was lucky I could get out and start a safe life for myself and my children,” Jacqueline said.
Jacqueline continued working, only taking time off for her children.
“I’d been working since I was 16 years old,” Jacqueline said. “Later in life I worked in Aboriginal hostels, assistant managing. But then I had trouble getting a blue card for work. I couldn’t get a job without it and I was off work for a long time.”
Aware of her desire to work in office administration, Jacqueline’s family told her about a course at Kurbingui.
“I was the oldest person in the 20-week course, and it took me a year to complete because of lockdowns but everyone was so patient with me and I graduated in February this year,” Jacqueline said.
“I realised that you’re never too old to learn and to dive right in because education is so important. There’s lots of opportunities out there especially with training and if I could do it – a great grandmother – then anyone could.”
A deadly job
After a fellow student told her about her placement at Strong Women Talking, Jacqueline knew she had found her dream job. “I said that’s what I want to do. I’ve lived through domestic violence and I can help,” Jacqueline said.
Jacqueline met with the team at MatchWorks Nundah – Employment Consultants, Diane Law, Grace Harmer and Renee Matika. Diane supported Jacqueline through the Wambinya Goal Setting and Mentoring program and Jacqueline shared that she had been trying to get an interview with Strong Women Talking. Diane and Grace contacted Strong Women Talking on Jacqueline’s behalf, and advised them of the employer support available if Jacqueline was successful in employment.
Diane and Grace helped Jacqueline with:
- Building her confidence.
- Preparing for the interview.
- Personal presentation, including clothing and a haircut.
“I got the job because of the help I received from MatchWorks,” Jacqueline said.
“I’ve never had any help like that from a job agency. Before I was treated like just a number, and I never had personalised support. Grace and Diane were the first people to ask me what kind of work I wanted to do. They were so deadly and went above and beyond to get this job for me. I can’t say enough about how they’ve helped me, and how they are continuing to help me.”
A strong purpose
“Sono Leone and the team at Strong Women Talking are thrilled with Jacqueline,” said Grace. “She thrives in her administration work, but also does event support, reception, cooking, cleaning and flower arrangements. It is truly a wonderful pleasure to have witnessed her transformation these past few months – the smiles, the joy and the confidence are brimming from her.”
“I’ve always worked but some jobs I’ve just dragged myself along to support my family, but this job is different,” Jacqueline said.
“I love it and I love being there, supporting women who have been through domestic violence helping them to heal and put themselves first. We do a water cleansing ceremony with them at the cliffs nearby and talk about the purpose of the ochre we use – we want them to feel beautiful, worthy, and strong.
“I’m hoping to do facilitation so I can work with the women more and I’m going to do additional computer training, which will help me be further efficient in the office, so we don’t have to outsource the work. I feel valued and safe there, and I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.”
“I’m so happy where I am now, and I’m honoured to be able to share my story.”