MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN EVERY HEARTBEAT is a monthly opportunity for us to share with you, the stories that matter most. This month we meet Jaydan, who was homeless and jobless at only 17 years old. Jaydan has become a massive inspiration not only in the Employment Hub he initially registered in, but across Campbell Page Australia wide. We’ve also captured a unique story from our Western Adelaide Employment Hub, whereby Cong has become our veteran interpreter and is helping other people who have been in his exact situation – to find and keep a job. The Western Adelaide team are thrilled to have Cong on board, and look forward to working together to help other individuals in the Vietnamese community.
Have you met Jaydan?
“I’m on way to being a chef, like my Gran! ”
When Campbell Page Candidate Coach, Annette, first met Jaydan she was instantly struck by his situation and his ability to keep smiling. Jaydan was only 17 years old, yet confessed to Annette that he had been homeless for ‘quite some time’. Jaydan’s mother sadly passed when he was 7 years old, and he then lived with his Dad who now had 5 other children with his current partner. Jaydan lasted there until he was 13 years old when he was kicked out of home.
Since then, Jaydan has been doing it pretty tough and getting by whatever way he can. He had been couch surfing from time time, as well as staying at his Grandmothers place when able to. Annette first approached the situation by sorting out Jaydan’s primary residence, as his Centrelink status would soon be listed as ‘no fixed address’ -taking him off the system altogether. Shortly after, Jaydan was able to secure accommodation at a friends place where he would pay regular board.
The events that followed would then change the course of Jaydan’s path for good. A restaurant owner approached the Campbell Page Employment Hub, Kiama, looking to take on a new Apprentice Chef. Annette instantly felt like this was going to the only way to get a clear sense of direction in Jaydan’s life, so she helped him lodge his permanent address at Centrelink, and also worked with Jaydan to create a resume for the application.
Although extremely excited about this great opportunity, Jaydan was also very nervous about the interview process! Annette came along to Jaydan’s second interview, where he told the owner how serious he was about landing this opportunity and how he would not let him down. He also shed light on how his Grandmother was a chef at an aged care facility down the road, and Jaydan had always enjoyed helping her out in the kitchen growing up.
Well when the news came that Jaydan had in fact been successful in his interview, he was so overwhelmed that he burst into tears. Annette helped organise Jaydan’s uniform and equipment for his first day, and he is also starting TAFE in January, 2016. Jaydan is now on his way to opening up his own restaurant one day in the future. He has stability and direction in his life, and we can honestly say that his story and courage has had a huge impact on everyone at Campbell Page.
“I am so happy that I have not lost my ability to learn”
Cong migrated to Australia from Vietnam in 1983, as a refugee. During his initial years in Australia he completed a Bachelor of Engineering and then worked as a full time Engineer until he was made redundant in 2013. Cong was referred to Campbell Page Port Adelaide in October 2014, with several medical conditions affecting his ability to work. Sharee became his Employment Consultant, and together they started working on a plan to get Cong back into employment.
All of the available engineering positions at the time were interstate, and as Cong has a family and a child with special needs he was not in a position to relocate. Stephanie who works at the Campbell Page Port Adelaide hub, met with Cong later that year. Stephanie further discussed what other skills he could use to get back to work and found out soon enough that Cong speaks fluent English and Vietnamese, -including all 3 dialects from the different regions of Vietnam. This placed Cong in a great position to become an interpreter, and he was enrolled into a course that would enable him do that in an official capacity.
In the mean time, Campbell Page in Western Adelaide were looking for new ways to provide a better service for their Vietnamese participants. The team raised the idea of working with Cong, and he was more than willing to accept the part time role at the Western Adelaide Employment Hub. Cong was so excited about being given an opportunity with Campbell Page, that he took his wife out for lunch that day to celebrate a new chapter in life. Cong now works alongside the same consultants, who helped him get back into work.
Cong has declared to the Occupational Assessor (OA) that he ‘feels very happy’ and ‘excited’ about his offer of employment with the company, and he has also proven himself to be a dedicated worker. He believes he has more purpose and structure to his week, and that the part time hours also allow him to care for his family.
Cong is already looking at exciting ways that he can build on his role at Campbell Page, including regularly engaging with the local Vietnamese restaurants and cafes to set up possible employment opportunities. He continually expresses his gratitude to the staff at Campbell Page, and his humble approach has made him a bit of a favorite within the team. When summing up his new skills and experiences, Cong says the main words that spring to mind are ‘Excitement, Opportunity, Support and New Friends’ – we think that pretty much says it all!