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Developing work skills, life skills and confidence

After leaving school, Lisa Gray was uncertain about the job she'd like or the industry she'd like to work in. She completed several TAFE courses in areas of interest but, without a career plan or extensive work experience, found finding a job to be challenging and disappointing.

Lisa heard about Pack Works from a housemate who works at Ground Works, another of Unisson's supported employment businesses. She has now been working at Pack Works, part-time, for a year and a half.

During this time, Lisa has gained a wide range of skills, including packing, folding and labelling, using machinery and managing quality control tasks. As she's mastered each new skill, her self-confidence has grown.

"If you're not good at something at the start, it's okay because you're learning on the job. Let me say, I was not the best folder and now I'm the best folder," says Lisa. I've learnt everything at work. I've learnt my times tables counting the show bags and weights doing the quality control"

Lisa recently transitioned to more complex data entry and computing tasks, which she really enjoys. Pack Works Coordinator, Tom Hobbs, has seen Lisa’s self-confidence develop.

“Lisa used to be quite shy and would repeatedly ask questions for reassurance, but now she’ll problem solve and applies what she’s learnt to new tasks,” he says.

Perhaps more importantly, Lisa has benefitted from opportunities to practice workplace soft skills such as perseverance, patience, problem solving, assertiveness and working collaboratively as well as the life skills that go hand-in-hand with finding and keeping a job, such as independent travel and budgeting.

Lisa travels to work by bus, train and a short walk. She is proud of the improvement in her general fitness and, following skills training with Unisson’s independent living support, her navigation skills.

“One-to-one has helped me to navigate,” says Lisa. “It helped me to read a map and use TripView and Google Maps on my smartphone. I met a friend and she said, ‘wow you can get there faster.’ She said, ‘Well done’ and I was so proud.”

Like all of us, Lisa sometimes gets lost, but now she takes it in her stride.

“I get lost but getting lost is a good thing because it’s finding out who to ask. I’ve become good friends with some of the station people and I ask them where to get on the train.”

Working at Pack Works has been a catalyst for Lisa, bringing to life the skills she’s learnt at TAFE and helping her to evaluate her strengths and interests and form career goals.

With a stable, flexible and supportive job at Pack Works, Lisa now plans to work and study to pursue a career in the hospitality industry. She now looks to the future with renewed optimism and confidence.