Richard has been living with rheumatoid arthritis since he was seven years old. He’d never had a job before walking into the Interact office earlier this year and blowing everyone away with his personality and amazing attitude to life in the face of chronic pain.

“There was just something about him,” says Interact recruitment partner Sue.

“He was seeing another consultant and she said to me, I want you to come and meet this guy because I think he could be something”.

There’s something really special about him. He has just never, ever let his pain pull him down. The only time we’ve ever seen him get upset is when he’s upset about one of his pets.”

At first Richard was assisted with the relevant checks for employment, such as Working with Children and NDIS workers scheme, as well as looking for roles that would suit his individual needs.
He was supported through interview practice and resume writing, but as winter approached and his rheumatoid arthritis intensified (to the point that he had to wear a wrist brace) the team decided that the best place for him was actually right there in the office with them.

“We put him forward for the role of Customer Experience Coordinator (CEC) but he didn’t have any experience, so we needed a plan B,” explains Sue.

Richard had never worked before, so the team strategised that a business traineeship would be the best way for him to enter the workforce, while planning out a career path within Interact, as they genuinely wanted him to stay.

“The business traineeship was definitely a better bridging gap than just jumping into the workforce,” says Richard.

An asset to the experienced Interact team

“I really do think that he is going to be an absolute asset to the company,” continues Sue.

“He’s obliging, happy, and extremely accurate with his work and he’s just so nice to all of the consultants and clients that come in. He’s genuinely a young gentleman who just wants to succeed and he’s so excited about having been given the chance.”

“It was a combination of a few of us wanting him to get the job and in return he’s going really well with his course. He has ploughed through the modules of his traineeship, even leaving some of the consultants with a lot more life experience behind him,” says Sue.

Living and working with chronic pain

Richard still has immense difficulties with pain and his pain management is expensive but it works.

Despite this, Richard’s manager Gene adds that he’s “doing fantastic and has exceeded all expectations.”

“Richard has grown in confidence and skills such as learning how to communicate better with people since joining the team, and he has made his parents very proud.”

Richard says Interact has been very supportive throughout the process, “I am loving it, my consultants make me laugh, it’s a very friendly team who put a smile on my face every day.”

“It’s been a very helpful process and if I didn’t have Interact, I don’t know if I would’ve stood a chance.”

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