Anothai lives with Autism Spectrum Disorder and was referred to CoAct/Worklink by his school in Cairns. They had identified he might leave school early and start work before finishing his final year. As he’s very shy and lacked confidence, his team wanted to make sure he had all the support he needed to succeed.

Building rapport, confidence and skills

The first step was building rapport between Sarah and Anothai before thinking about the kind of role he’d love. When they met he was finalising his Certificate III in Hospitality. The qualification equips students with practical skills which enable them to work in a variety of roles and venues.

Together, they discovered that a hospitality role where he could do a range of tasks and be an all-rounder would be best for him. He wanted the opportunity to do a bit of everything.

Preparation and practise prove successful

They got his resume ready and worked towards dropping it into venues in his local area. To ensure he had the confidence, they did lots of preparation including:

  • walking into cafes with his resume and introducing himself
  • talking to potential employers
  • interview practice.

They had a game plan for success. He practised with both Sarah and his mum. Sarah gave Anothai homework to answer lots of questions. At first, it was very hard for Anothai to calm his nerves about meeting new people and employers face-to-face. So Sarah went with him into each workplace.

After a few attempts, he got so confident that he told Sarah he wanted to start doing it alone. The very first place that he walked into alone (The Coffee Club) offered him an interview.

Because they’d done so much preparation, Anothai felt he’d be able to answer interview questions. Sarah and Anothai went to the interview together. They wanted to tell the employer, Robyn, he was anxious, which she understood completely. Proving Worklink’s motto – Right Employer at the Right Time – With the Right Support, she kept the interview short and sweet. He got hired shortly after in a flexible role that allows him to continue with his studies.

With experience comes confidence

Anothai’s hospitality teacher Brent says, “Anothai is an exceptional student in the VET program at St. Mary’s Catholic College. He completed Certificate II in Hospitality in Year 11, with extraordinary effort and speed. Anothai has transitioned into Certificate III in Hospitality and is on track to complete it later this year.

“I am impressed with his enthusiasm and motivation to learn and more recently, his leadership qualities. Anothai has outstanding initiative and often helps me with supervising and training the Year 10 Hospitality class.”

In terms of work, he’s doing front of house and back of house. He takes customers their meals, cleans the tables and takes the dishes to the dishwasher. His employer has eased him into training for each task one by one. She likes to get her team to work their way around and learn each part of the business, one step at a time.
Sarah says that the biggest change in Anothai is that he’s come out of his shell in such a short period of time. Now, you can’t wipe the smile off his face as he’s so happy.

Anothai’s advice for others

“Be yourself. Keep yourself cool. Go with the flow. Practice makes perfect,” says Anothai.

Are you an Eligible school leaver? We can help you find a job you love. We’ll guide you through the support available for working with a treated mental health condition, illness, injury or disability.

Register with us today.

Our support is free and includes working out what’s next, writing a resume and applying for jobs. We’ll even continue to support you once you’re at work. Register your interest at or [email protected]

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