“The internship really changed my life.” Tahlia’s story.

Tahlia’s determination has successfully landed her a job that combines her passion for cooking and people management.

When the young Bendigo job seeker first met with the MatchWorks team, she had a limited work history and was low in confidence. Her numeracy and literacy skills had been impacted by her intellectual disability and she needed tailored support. To strengthen her self-confidence and employability skills, Tahlia was selected to join the Empowering Youth program.

“Tahlia was really engaged in the Empowering Youth program, and she had an excellent attendance record and completed it successfully,” said MatchWorks Employment Consultant, Debra Pell.

Unstable times

The program finishing coincided with Tahlia and her mother seeking and securing emergency accommodation. Through support from homelessness service provider Haven, Tahlia was able to gain permanent accommodation. “I had a lot of pressure on me, and it was hard to support myself,” Tahlia said.

“Tahlia’s mental health suffered due to all the upheaval in her personal circumstances, so we arranged counselling for her,” said Debra.
Debra also provided the young job seeker with:
• Tailored employment readiness support.
• A long-term approach to finding the right job.
• Encouragement to participate in relevant training programs.

Building confidence and skills

Tahlia commenced the Youth Jobs PaTH program which helped her continue to build her confidence and job skills. She began volunteering and then landed a PaTH internship in retail. “The volunteering showed me that I could hold a job and do it well,” Tahlia said. “I felt really supported. I don’t think anyone should stay in a job they don’t enjoy, or where they’re not treated well. If you don’t enjoy your job, it will come out to your customers and your colleagues.”

It was through this process that Debra discovered Tahlia’s interest for hospitality. A PaTH internship in hospitality followed and when she landed a job at a local bakery, Tahlia hit her stride. Then lockdowns and restrictions hit, which resulted in her hours being reduced before her role ended completely. Tahlia persevered, completing a genU Training ‘Training U for Work’ program.

Finding a mentor

Persistence paid off when Tahlia found her match with her third PaTH internship.

“Tahlia started working at a busy local café and had a good mentor teaching her how to prepare food and show initiative,” Debra said. “She started to flourish, build up her self-esteem and meet expectations.”

“I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but I’d never had a chance to in other jobs or my previous internships,” Tahlia said. “Now I’m in a role where I’m teaching new employees how to prepare the food.”

Tahlia is now into her second year of her apprenticeship in a Commercial Cookery Certificate III. “It’s been great,” Tahlia said. “It can be hard to complete certain aspects like the Zoom calls which are usually at work as I don’t want to keep customers waiting. My colleague is doing the same apprenticeship though which is handy, and the owner Ian is really helpful and supportive too.”

Owner Ian Bailey acquired the café to provide an opportunity for young people to build confidence and gain technical and employability skills. “Tahlia has ticked all these boxes and has transitioned into a highly valued team member,” Ian said. “As a small employer, the opportunity to utilise the PaTH internship model as a tool to ensure we are making an appropriate recruitment decision has been invaluable.”

A new future

“The internship really changed my life,” Tahlia said. “When I was on welfare it was hard to support myself and buy my groceries. I also help out my Mum financially – it was a struggle to do all of that until I got this job.”

“Now, I’m always trying and doing my best, and I’m holding myself to a high standard. I’d like to work my way up to Manager there.”

“Don’t be afraid to try something new. Look at an internship and do what you can to find a job you enjoy.”

Find out more about our employment services for job seekers and businesses, or call 1300 13 23 63 to chat to your local team.