“I’ve found my love of art again.” Tim’s story.

Tim has landed a job as a skin art tattooist, marrying his loves of art and design, while successfully managing his physical and mental barriers.

Tim had been running his own sign-making business, but the work was physically taxing and had started to exacerbate his back issues. “After hurting my back in high school, I began to suffer from Osteo Spondylitis, bulging discs and Scoliosis,” Tim said.

Tim had met his future employer at a market where they were both selling their wares. “I started storing my consignments at their tattoo and retail store,” Tim said.

Unable to continue with his sign-making, Tim met with MatchWorks Bundaberg Employment Consultant, Heidie Grimson. “Tim was already an accomplished tattoo graphic design artist, and wanted to become a skin art tattooist,” Heidie said.

“We were able to provide Tim with funding to purchase a tattoo kit, complete the relevant checks and support him through the required course – infection prevention for skin penetration treatments and once completed, Tim commenced tattooing in store.”

A new career

Tim began working at the tattoo and retail store at the start of the year. “A typical retail role would involve long periods of standing, which is impossible for me, but they were very understanding – like family – and I could alternate between sitting and standing during my shifts,” Tim said.

Yet, not all was smooth sailing for Tim. The close skin contact triggered an unresolved trauma and mental health issue. He was referred to the MatchWorks Health and Wellbeing team for support.  

Heidie, MatchWorks Health and Wellbeing Counsellor Michael Galaret and the Health and Wellbeing team provided Tim with:

  • Regular phone and online sessions with a psychologist to discuss his mental health issues.
  • Goal setting and psychoeducation tools.
  • Coping strategies for his trauma.
  • A workable plan to tattoo again with his current supportive employer.

“This support had a positive impact and Tim was able to realise his dream and recommence tattooing a few months later,” Heidie said.

“MatchWorks has been unbelievable,” Tim said. “I hadn’t had solid employment since hurting my back and no other job agency recognised my disability. That completely changed when I met Heidie. She was so supportive. I talk to Heidie every week now, she’s been great. I know Heidie and Michael are there for me if I ever need anything.”

“Having employers who understand the things that I can and can’t do makes a big difference. They’ll move my clients if I need some time off for mental or physical reasons.”

“Now I’m looking forward to settling into the role more and being able to buy my own house.”

Find out more about our Disability Employment Services for job seekers.