Youth internship program opens the door to new opportunities

South Australian business owner Susan Sadler knows the value of thinking outside the box to find talent.

Susan’s business, Red Wagon Workplace Solutions, focuses on helping other organisations create a cohesive and ethical workforce. So when she needed help boosting customer engagement, Susan chose to open the door to a talented young job seeker who was part of the Youth PATH internship program.

The savvy employer’s first introduction to the program was through her role as the South Australian President of Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI).

“I had been speaking to the Department of Employment Skills and Education (DESE) about how AHRI members could access amazing people through the program,” Susan said.

Susan Sadler, Director, Red Wagon Workplace Solutions

“There’s a lot of stereotyping around these programs so the conversation made me think differently about finding someone to help me get better traction with customers. I realised it was the perfect opportunity for Red Wagon to find the right person for the role.”

DESE referred Susan to MatchWorks, where consultant Eva Kuricova got to know what Susan wanted in an employee. Eva then presented a short-list of potential interns for Susan to consider.   

“Eva was excellent – she was highly professional and supportive, and really took the time to understand what I wanted,” Susan said.

“Treating people with dignity and respect is at the core of my business so it was important for me to find someone whose values and attitudes aligned with my own.  I also wanted someone who had a voice and would challenge me with their own contributions. 

“We narrowed the list down to two people and after interviewing Catherine, I had a really good, honest feeling about her… Eva had hit the nail on the head.” 

Red Wagon Workplace Solutions Director, Susan Sadler (left) has found a bright and forward thinking professional in Youth PATH intern, Catherine Martin.

Catherine has proven to be an energetic, bright and forward thinking professional who has already improved customer engagement in the short time she’s been with the business. This success earned her an ongoing role with Red Wagon as their Customer Experience Specialist and the talented young staff member is even contributing to the business at a tactical and strategic level.

“I can already see an improvement in our customer engagement,” Susan said.

“Catherine is not afraid to put ideas forward and her strong creative and design skills are helping us get traction too.” 

Outside of the financial benefits of having a secure job, Catherine said the role has given her more confidence in herself and her skills.

“It’s great to be given a chance and find a boss who genuinely cares about me and wants me to succeed. It makes me want to put in the extra hard yards, and I feel like I could really grow in this role,” Catherine said.

Susan describes the intern program as an amazing opportunity for any size business to trial a young person to see if they’re the right fit.

“I would highly recommend the program to other businesses, especially in these difficult times. It’s been a fantastic success.”  

The Youth PATH internship program is an initiative of the Department of Employment Skills and Education (DESE). As well as supporting young people, Youth Jobs PaTH also supports employers by giving them the opportunity to trial a young person in the workplace, and receive a wage subsidy if the young person is then employed.  Businesses can access the program through their local jobactive provider.

Catherine is a MatchWorks client and part of the New Employment Services Trial in Adelaide South.