Leah was in the final stages of completing her Certificate III in Individual Support in 2022 when her life changed dramatically. Her daughter passed away suddenly, and so Leah left her training to take part in a period of Sorry Business. In addition, the passing of her beloved daughter led to Leah becoming a parent again, this time to her three lovely grandchildren.

In January 2023, while still grieving the loss and adjusting to her role as a parent, Leah felt she was ready to start looking for work again. One of her biggest struggles was finding an employer who understood that her children were her priority and that she required flexibility within her hours. She came to BUSY Ability for help and was introduced to consultant Melanie Brennan, who Leah describes as “caring and supportive”.

Melanie and the BUSY Ability team worked with Leah to find her a position that suited her needs.  Living with a disability herself, Leah was keen to find work in the support industry so she could make a difference in the lives of others. It wasn’t long before two roles became available: a Support Worker position and a Business Administration Traineeship. Both roles were with the same employer – Centacare – and both were well-matched to Leah’s needs.

Leah decided to pursue the Support Worker role, but unfortunately this position did not last. She was doubly disappointed, because she’d also missed out on the Traineeship position, which had subsequently been filled.

Thankfully, Leah’s disappointment was short-lived. A few weeks later, she was contacted directly by Centacare who told her someone had dropped out of the Traineeship and that she was their first-choice replacement. All she needed was to undergo a police check, which BUSY Ability were more than happy to help facilitate, and Leah was soon placed in the role!

By September 2023, Leah had completed her Business Administration Traineeship. Centacare was very impressed with her skills and caring manner and offered her a part-time role as a Community Engagement Officer in their Multicultural Office. Leah performed so well that this contract was extended for a further six months. Then, in January of 2024, Leah was offered a full-time role.

Leah once again turned to her support network at BUSY Ability to help her negotiate the terms of her new, full-time role. She was excited about the extra responsibilities, but wanted to make sure she was still able to fulfil her parenting duties. The negotiations were a success, Leah accepted the role and she hasn’t looked back since.

Centacare has enabled Leah to pursue a career in the support industry, where she is thriving. She says she particularly enjoys getting to know her clients so she can truly understand what they want and need. Centacare is also very proud of Leah and all she has achieved. The organisation has featured her in their newsletter several times, showcasing her commitment to the community, including the significant role she played in a Post-Flood School Supply Drive. Leah also represented Centacare at the 2024 International Women’s Day Luncheon at the Cairns Convention Centre, hosted by Cairns Regional Council.

Winner of FNQ Queensland Training Award and Centacare Trainee of the Year Award!

Perhaps Leah’s most impressive achievement to date is her recent recognition both by being nominated for Centacare’s inaugural Trainee of the Year Award and for winning the Regional Far North Queensland, Queensland Training Awards Equity Student of the Year award! Leah is now a finalist in the State-based Queensland Training Awards, held later this year. It is well-deserved recognition for the effort Leah has put into her training and her work.

When asked what she would say to others living with a disability and looking for work, Leah said: “I would say to them give it a go! You never know what the outcome may be – and you are never too old to learn new things.”

Find out more about BUSY Ability’s support for jobseekers living with disability, injury or illness.

Three women, one receiving award for Queensland Training Awards 2024 FNQ Equity Student of the Year

Leah (L) will now be a finalist in the overall Queensland State Training Awards, held later this year.

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