Honest talk can lead to recovery…and employment


When ALBERTO celebrated more than six months in a new job, he wanted to tell Panorama readers about how he was able to bounce back, with some help from Flourish Australia’s Disability Employment Service, Ostara (Alberto is pictured on the right with Ostara’s Anthony Perera on the left)

by Alberto

I had a back injury doing demolition work. Because of that I was off work for eighteen months with a workers’ compensation claim.

I had to attend Centrelink but I needed special help due to the pain of the injury. It definitely affected me mentally, too. I lost a lot of hope and confidence because of it.

I was sent to Ostara for extra help and there I worked mostly with employment consultants Alan and Ahamed at the Redfern office.

Now I am working again.

At first I did four months’ retail work at Mont Blanc. Then two months after that fell through, I got a job at St Vincent De Paul Bondi Beach where I have been for six months now.

I am a sales person. We sort and sell donations. There is still a bit of lifting involved and sometimes I struggle. But I love mixing with the customers!

At Bondi Junction people are relaxed…I like it a lot. People there like me as well. I still have a little bit of trouble with the back but I find that exercise helps, and anti-inflammatory medicine.

I used to go to the gym to work out, but now I walk for half an hour every day and do stretches at home and at work.

At various times I have worked on and off in sales, as a labourer and in factories and also for a demolition labour hire firm.

In the future, I would really like to do a traineeship, perhaps in management. I’d like to stay with St Vinnies, though, and see what doors open!

I find that spirituality helps me. I try to keep my morale high by praying and meditating.
I find praying to God to give me strength and guidance to help me to do the right thing is good, especially in those times when I am feeling helpless. Sometimes the world can seem complicated, competitive and stressful, but the more I pray, the less I stress.

Talking to people helped my recovery a lot, too.

Ostara staff made sure I was able to open up and talk honestly about how I felt. They always pushed that point: that if I had any problems to talk to them at once.
Past job agencies didn’t believe in that. With Ostara people spend more time with the person and are genuine about helping people.

I think it is important for people to realise that while it might not always look like it, there is always something round the corner. Put in the effort to show up each day. The opportunity will come. Sometimes several opportunities will come all at once!”

Albert spoke with Warren Heggarty

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