Andy is now a teacher’s aide – a lesson on finding the right fit

15 November 2023

Andy is now a teacher’s aide – a lesson on finding the right fit

CoAct service Partner Youth Projects helped single mum Andy find work that worked for her. Contact us if you’re in a similar situation, our team and network are here to help.

This customer, who prefers to be referred to as Andy for the purposes of publicly sharing her story, is a single mother who had been struggling financially as well as encountering numerous challenges while seeking employment due to her responsibilities as a parent.

Youth Projects is a CoAct service partner and independent, registered charity which provides front line support to young people and individuals experiencing disadvantage, unemployment, homelessness, alcohol and other drug issues.

They help young people looking to re-engage with learning and employment by recognising the complex and varying needs of the people they work with and going above and beyond, 365 days a year, to provide pathways out of poverty and break the cycle of disadvantage.

The highly skilled multi-disciplinary Youth Projects team provides a complete wrap around, judgement-free service with a strong focus on respect, client-centred care and harm prevention. Their goal is to enable young people to lead longer lives, have improved health, meaningful employment and a greater sense of belonging, safety and security through a holistic model of care.

The challenges

The main obstacle was finding suitable employment that would accommodate Andy’s limited availability between 9 am and 3 pm.

Andy had previously engaged with ParentsNext, an organisation dedicated to assisting parents in finding work. Although they managed to secure her a casual cafe job, she could only work a few hours per week due to her limited flexibility related to parenting duties outside of her son’s school hours. After relocating to Melton, she was referred to Youth Projects by Centrelink.

The solutions

When Andy started with the Transition to Work program, she was assigned a dedicated Youth Coach to assist her with her pathway to sustainable employment by creating tailored solutions for Andy’s unique circumstances.

At the heart of Youth Projects’ Transition to Work services is the concept of personalised support. Each young participant is assigned a dedicated coach who serves as their mentor and guide throughout their journey. This one-on-one approach allows coaches to understand the unique needs, challenges, and aspirations of each individual, ensuring tailored solutions and continuous encouragement.

Youth Projects hubs provide a welcoming and inclusive environment where young people feel comfortable and motivated to pursue their goals. These hubs are more than just spaces; they are vibrant centres of inspiration and growth. For individuals like Andy, who are balancing the responsibilities of parenthood, the hubs offer a family-friendly atmosphere. Andy was able to bring her son, who enjoyed engaging activities like table tennis, watching TV, and having snacks while she received support and attended sessions.

As Andy was initially planning to continue her career in hospitality, Youth Coach assisted with tailoring a resume and referred her to several local hospitality vacancies. But the challenge was finding suitable employment in this industry that could accommodate Andy’s available hours.

The task was to find a solution that not only provided sustainable employment but also allowed her to take her son to school in the morning and pick him up afterwards.

Youth Projects took a proactive approach to support Andy throughout her journey:

  • Recognising the importance of essential documentation, Youth Couch encouraged Andy to obtain a learner’s permit as she needed a picture ID to enroll in traineeship. Youth Projects also helped Andy to secure a Working with Children check and assisted with related costs.
  • During school holidays, Andy faced the challenge of arranging care for her son while she dedicated herself to her in-class studies. The cost of holiday care was, at times, a heavy burden on her budget. Understanding the importance of education in Andy’s traineeship, Youth Projects stepped in to provide financial assistance to make school break care more affordable. This support not only eased Andy’s financial stress but also allowed her to focus on her studies with peace of mind.
  • Andy’s commitment to her education required her to take public transport to get to school for classes. This added another expense to her already tight budget. Recognising the importance of accessible transportation for her educational aspect of the traineeship, Youth Projects extended their assistance to extra gift vouchers to compensate for the costs of her commuting expenses.
  • Youth Projects team recognised that the journey to stability came with many challenges and financial hardship for Andy. To ease these burdens, the team encouraged Andy, and others like her, to take advantage of the Hub’s food corner, offering groceries to those in need.

After researching various options, the team discovered a wonderful opportunity that seemed tailor-made for Andy—a traineeship position as a teacher’s aide at a special school just five minutes away from her child’s school. This traineeship perfectly aligned with her son’s school hours, granting her the flexibility she needed. It was an ideal solution that would eventually lead her to a fulfilling career in education.

The impact

Andy’s dedication and the Youth Projects team’s consistent support yielded remarkable results:

Employment opportunity: securing an interview for a full-time position, Andy is on the cusp of gaining stable employment close to home and a five minutes’ walk from her son’s school.

Work-life balance: by working full time as a teacher’s aide, Andy can achieve financial stability while maintaining the flexibility necessary to care for her child. This outcome perfectly aligns with her initial goals and the challenges she faced as a single mother.

Career progression: a year after commencing in Transition to Work program with Youth Projects, Andy is on the brink of completing her teacher’s aide training, and she is set to receive her official certification in October. This achievement represents a significant step toward her long-term goals.

In a message to her youth coach, Andy wrote:

Thank you so much, I would never have thought to apply at a school if it wasn’t for your suggestion and I really do love it.

In this story, Andy’s journey stands as a testament to the power of tailored employment services in changing lives for the better. It’s a story that reminds us of the potential for success when we adapt services to individual circumstances and when we approach each challenge with empathy and creativity. In Andy’s journey, there is hope, inspiration, and proof that with determination, support, and innovative solutions, obstacles can be overcome.

Register here to find out more about how we can provide dedicated job search support and jobseeker programs to help you reach your employment goals.

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