One Year Working as a Youth Support Mentor

Julie recently celebrated her one-year anniversary with Mai-Wel and 18 years working in the industry.

After 18 years working as an Employment Consultant at a different company, Julie was nervous to take the leap and apply for a new position at Mai-Wel. Now, one year later, Julie is absolutely loving her position as a Youth Support Mentor for Mai-Wel’s Workforce Australia – Transition to Work team!

Workforce Australia – Transition to Work is Mai-Wel’s service to assist 15–24-year-olds address barriers to employment they may be experiencing. Often there are areas that need to be addressed before a young person who may be experiencing some trouble can begin to consider employment, such as mental health issues, not having their licence, not having a stable home or even just struggles knowing how to interview or prepare a resume. It’s the job of a Youth Support Mentor to assist young job seekers address these issues and get to a position where they are capable of gaining and maintaining employment.

We spoke to Julie about what she would recommend about working as a Youth Support Mentor at Mai-Wel.

“I enjoy helping people overcome their barriers. Many of my clients are surprised that I shared a similar start to them. I didn’t complete high school and experienced a number of barriers that stopped me from being able to follow my ‘plan’ to finish high school and work in childcare. I didn’t get to where I wanted to be. It was through an employment service like our very own that I gained a position in administration and from there made my way into Employment Support to help people experiencing difficulties like I had.

“Whether someone needs help to get a mental health support plan, a reminder to get on track, assistance to get accommodation, we help people get to a position from which they can get into sustainable employment.

“It’s so amazing to see what some of my clients have achieved in regards to how much they change from when you first meet them to 6 months in a job. Being secure and happy, it just builds their confidence so much. It’s the best feeling ever.

“For example, I had one client who told me “I don’t believe in myself.” At first she was going well with her supports but then one day she stopped attending. It took one phone call from myself to follow up and just ask ‘are you okay’ and she decided to come back and is now enrolled in a course. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to engage with youth and just show that you believe in them.”

“Some of my most fun times with clients has been driving them around to job interviews or training. It helps build a relationship outside the office setting and you often learn things about how to support that person along the way. That’s where I have some of my funniest conversations.”

When it comes to working at Mai-Wel, Julie says she’s found Mai-Wel to be a supportive employer.

“When I first started, I had a family emergency as well as illness myself, but even though I had just began the position, Mai-Wel was so supportive during this time.

“It’s like a family. I feel as if I’ve been here for years.

“I would say to anyone, even if you don’t have a background in employment support, you will be supported by Mai-Wel and the team to learn. It’s such a great place to be.”

A woman standing in front of a MWLFS logo sign.

Pictured: Julie in the lobby of the Maitland MWLFS office. 

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