I was having trouble getting a social work job. So I decided to look for work in other areas. But because my sight had changed I didn't know what other work I could do. I needed an assessment with an eye specialist to provide advice. Applying for jobs was also difficult as I cannot read newspaper advertisements. I decided to register with a disability employment service. Years ago I was with another employment agency, but it wasn't very helpful. This time I wanted to get the most out of my employment service.
Register with a service
To register with a service I had a work capacity assessment at Centrelink. I then chose the disability employment service I wanted. After a few months I hadn't heard from the service. I contacted them to find out what was happening. The service then allocated me a worker.
At my first appointment we discussed what I wanted. We talked about my short and long term goals. I advised what type of work I wanted and what I had experience in. I heard about the help they offered. It included assistance with rewriting my resume. They would also help pay for training and work uniforms. They explained how the service operated and what my obligations were. Unfortunately, the print in their brochure was too small for me to read. They emailed the brochure to me so I could read it on the computer.
Before each appointment I now receive both a print and email reminder. If I'm really busy I can have my appointment over the phone. In between fortnightly appointments I can email my worker.
Explain my capabilities
The service hasn't had many other jobseekers with low vision. I had to explain to my worker my capabilities and how I manage in different workplaces. I have talked about how I do different tasks. I have also talked about jobs that I cannot do.
To decide what other jobs I can do I need to know what's involved. I can then decide whether it is something I can do or what changes would need to be made so I could do it.
I realised I hadn't told my worker I was still interested in social work. I'd missed a job I wanted. I needed to know when jobs were advertised. They now email me position descriptions for different jobs, including social work.
I don't currently have regular work. I need to take any work that we can find. I needed an ABN number so I could get casual or contract work. My worker helped me to complete the online application.
Friends have suggested other ways to get the most out of my employment agency. One friend pointed out something I hadn't thought of. Was the agency only interested in just getting me any job? Or is it getting a job for now while looking for something long-term? The agency will assist me to get a job for now and longer term. They would also provide support after I'd started a job.
Learned a lot
I have learned a lot from my experiences. To get the most out of my employment agency I need to:
- Remember that working with my employment service is a team effort
- Continue looking for work myself and not just expect my worker to do it
- Ask what options are available and what progress my worker has made
- Be assertive and clear about what I want.