Mircea (above) displays his two certificates, the Certificate III in Warehousing Operations and Vocational Pathways.
Mircea has a varied experience of study, work and even self-employment. He studied Construction Management at UTS university and gained a qualification as a Microsoft systems engineer. He has worked for a large Bank, an employment consulting company, and a computer company as well as Australian Hearing Services, having come to Australia from Romania at age 21.’
Mircea’s wife passed away from colon cancer aged only 35. After that he moved in with his mother and has received support for mental health issues.
Since becoming a supported employee with Flourish Australia, he says that his life has become more level and consistent without the major ups and downs he was experiencing before.
How will his graduation from the Certificate III in Warehousing Operations change things?
‘This new qualification opens the door towards being a leading hand or supervisor in a warehouse’ says Mircea. ‘I want to tread carefully, though. I have been out of hospital for one and a half years now.’
‘Here at Flourish Australia, I know that I will get support from people like Bao [Nguyen, who supervises the courier business] and Warwick [Poulton, manager of the Marrickville site]. They are always asking if I am OK. In open employment you might get a manager who doesn’t care about your wellbeing. So for that reason I feel more comfortable in supported employment.’
This dilemma – being keen and capable, yet fearing undoing all the good work of recovery or even losing the pension by venturing into open employment- is a very common one.
Nevertheless, Flourish Australia will continue to encourage Mircea to aim towards open employment. Mircea would be better off financially, earning a salary closer to his abilities and responsibilities. ‘But money is not the only factor.’ He says, ‘There is also your quality of living.’
Mircea has learned to ‘watch for triggers and signals’ that he is becoming unwell. ‘I have a system in place’ he says. ‘Some of the signs I watch for are smoking too much, spending too much, racing thoughts and losing sleep.’ When he notices these things he can take action to stop things escalating. ‘I have protection over my bank account, too!’ he adds.
This sense of personal responsibility carries over into Mircea’s work, which involves driving. ‘When you’re driving you have responsibility for the safety of others.’
In the courier business ‘we start with morning meetings where we decide to split up the duties between the three drivers. We have to be at certain places at certain times to make regular pick ups and deliveries. So there are a lot of time constraints. Nine out of ten times, there is no problem, but on the other occasions, if I think I will have trouble making it, I can rely on my colleagues to fill in for me, and they can rely on me in the same way. It’s very much a team thing.
Thanks to Bao Nguyen