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How Rodney got his life back from the brink

3 minute read

It’s not always easy to re-enter the workforce after a long stint on the sidelines.

And for Rodney (pictured right), his return to employment was harder than most.

Back in 2013, Rodney was facing homelessness in Narooma, NSW after enduring a major family upheaval.

Not only did he have himself to think about – he also had great difficulty in adjusting to the responsibility of caring for his 14-year-old daughter.

As an older jobseeker, Rodney, 61, had additional barriers to employment that he needed to break through.

A recent study conducted by the National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre showed that 96% of people aged between 55-59 who lost their jobs ended up retiring early - but this was not an option for the father of one.

When Rodney came to PeoplePlus in Maroubra in July 2015, his Case Manager Mal noted that he was a strong prospect for employment, but the opportunities for work were scarce.

After a short stint working with the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2016, Rodney was linked with Babana Aboriginal Men’s Group (a PeoplePlus partner organisation that builds and empowers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men through mentoring, support and employment assistance) and Debbie from Annecto (an independent non-profit organisation serving older Australians, families, carers and those with disabilities).

Before he could secure a sought-after role with Annecto, Rodney needed to boost his employability for a job working in the digital age by increasing his computer literacy.

After some encouragement from his Case Manager Mal who told Rodney to "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else,” he undertook some basic training to assist with his computer skills. He was then offered a role in the Human Resources team at Annecto, where he now screens and recommends suitable candidates for employment.

"Rodney is a considerate, conscientious worker who is adapting well to the challenges of building the Annecto brand and support workforce," his manager Michael said.

The team efforts of PeoplePlus, Babana and Annecto continue to this day, with all three organisations in regular touch with Rodney.

“Rodney knows he has our support and that of Babana and Annecto. We're always in contact with Rodney and we often make visits to his office," PeoplePlus’s Mal said.

Rodney eventually moved to Philip Bay where the family home was placed into a 99-year lease through the department of housing.

A year down the track, Rodney is still happily employed and is “inspired” by the work that Annecto does to provide support to those who need it the most.

And since returning to Philip Bay, Rodney has been heavily involved in the Le Perouse community – giving back to those who need it – just like he did.

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