Tommy’s job search gets the green light

24 September 2018

Tommy’s job search gets the green light

18-year-old Tommy from Palmers Island, New South Wales was keen to find work in his local area, but like many young people had experienced some barriers along the way.

He was working at McDonalds, approximately 3 hours per week, though desperately wanted another position that would provide him with a successful career path. As a shy individual, Tommy lacked the confidence to approach employers and ask about job opportunities, but with the support of CoAct Service Partner, CHESS Employment, things were soon about to change.

Smart, Skilled and Hired

Tommy was immediately registered for the NSW Department of Industry’s Smart, Skilled and Hired (SSH) program. SSH Youth Coach, Renai worked closely with him to discuss career options and the type of training Tommy might need to land the sort of work he wanted. Renai was also able to update Tommy’s resume with a new look that included relevant information about his skills and experience.

Next, Tommy attended the RMS Roadshow in Maclean accompanied by the SSH team to learn more about possible jobs in the area. With plenty of encouragement and introductions to people they knew, Tommy quickly gained the courage to speak to labour hire agencies and companies with contracts for the local highway upgrade.

Training and support

Within a month, Tommy was booked on a Traffic Controller course funded by the Smart, Skilled and Hired program and run by Country Hospitality Services, Grafton so that he could obtain his traffic control tickets to work on the roads. An SSH Youth Coach met Tommy at the Training Centre before the course started to introduce him to his Trainer and the other course participants.

She returned during the lunch break to check that training was going well and to provide Tommy with the PPE* gear he would need to go onto a live site the next day to complete his assessment.

*PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment and is worn to help keep you safe at work. For Tommy this included Safety Boots, Long sleeve shirt, Long pants, Sun and rain protection.

Quick transition to paid work

As soon as Tommy had finished his course, the CHESS team followed up straight away with contacts from the RMS Roadshow to let them know he had got his traffic control tickets and was keen to secure a job.

It was a quick transition to paid work, with Tommy now employed by labour hire company Protech, working 10-hour days as a labourer on the Pacific Highway upgrade and he couldn’t be happier!

Thank you to the CHESS team for your support and encouragement. I’ve gone from working three hours a week to getting my tickets and working full-time on the roads and I couldn’t be happier. In just a few weeks my life has changed so much. Thank you, guys – I really appreciate it!

Smart, Skilled and Hired is an innovative program aimed at kick-starting the careers of young people (15-24 years). Just like Tommy, youth job seekers can gain access to the support, training and mentoring they need to help build their skills and experience. Want to improve your chances of finding the right job sooner? Get in touch with the friendly team at CoAct today.

Illustration of staff member sitting at her work desk

Subscribe to the my JobCoach newsletter:

We can help you navigate the world of work with the latest job search tips, news and updates direct to your inbox each month.

Acknowledgement of First Nations Peoples

CoAct acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay our respects to the peoples, the Cultures and the Elders past, present and emerging.

Diversity and inclusion

CoAct is committed to embracing diversity and inclusion by providing an inclusive service and work environment. We welcome everyone, irrespective of age, sex, gender, sexuality, culture, religion, size and ability.


We are committed to ensuring accessibility for people with disability. This includes digitally, in the workplace, and on the path to work. Online we continue to improve the user experience for every visitor by applying and upholding accessibility standards.
© 2024 CoAct