How perseverance paid dividends for former tradie Chris Young

Chris Young is sitting down, smiling and looking at the camera. There is a green wall and a plant in the background

This is a story about how one man’s perseverance and flexibility helped him stay employed when life threw him curveballs at a rapid rate.

Meeting Chris

Chris Young has led a varied and physically engaged life. He was launched into the world of work when he left school at 15 to take up an apprenticeship in engine reconditioning back in 1980.

It’s challenging to keep up with his narrative, but in essence, Chris has tried his hand at many trades in Perth, Geraldton and Bunbury. Along with engine reconditioning, he’s worked at building waste bins, automotive machining, de-commissioning machines, driving skip trucks, being a spare parts interpreter, operating cranes and forklifts.

A new direction

After about ten years of being on the tools, Chris developed arthritis in his hands and had to look for a new direction. This development meant that remaining a tradie was out of reach.

Chris Young has excelled at many things, but a continuing theme is definitely his ability to reinvent himself.

To Bunbury and back

Chris first came to Bunbury about nine years ago. After unsuccessfully securing employment during his first year, he signed up for the services of Forrest Personnel – he was eligible given his arthritic condition. He reflected that: “I had lost my confidence, and Ray, my Employment Consultant at the time, helped me find it again.”

He landed a job in Bunbury, under his own steam, which then moved to Perth. He sustained this until he was beset by more physical issues. This time it was his back.

He was medically retired and fate found him back in Bunbury, where he once again connected with Forrest Personnel.

A personal link

During conversations with his Employment Consultant, Shay, and other staff, it was discovered that Chris loves and is totally committed to his three grandchildren. In addition, he has personal and familial experience of disability. Given these personal credentials, the Forrest Personnel team believed that Chris would be an ideal candidate for the Cert III Individual Support which we happened to be hosting at our head office.

Giving it a try

He came to an information session, and according to Chris, he was very impressed.

When reflecting on the completed course, he said that: “I absolutely loved it. The trainer, Kat from Corporate First Aid, was brilliant. Those who were enrolled became close knit, and we stay in touch.”

Another new direction

Eventually, Shay informed Chris about an opening for a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Support Worker at Forrest Personnel. This position would require Chris to work alongside young people with disability who are navigating their way from school to the world of work. It sounded perfect for Chris given his extensive work history and personal experiences.

Following a successful interview, Chris secured the job and is now working with a small team under the guidance of NDIS Coordinator Lindell Verelst.

“It’s the smiles”

We asked him about his new role, and he told us that: “What I love most is the smile it puts on a participant’s face when I’ve supported them to succeed.”

We chatted briefly with Lindell about how Chris was able to reinvent himself and find a new niche. She told us that: “Chris was such an appealing candidate for the Support Worker role because he has a truly inspired story of perseverance. Through Chris’ setbacks, he has evolved and now uses his experience in a variety of workforce sectors, along with his understanding of disability, to support people to reach their employment goals.”

Forward motion

We look forward to following Chris Young’s journey and to hearing the stories of the NDIS participants he is supporting. After all, nothing quite compares to learning directly from people who are truly experienced.

Feature photo: Chris Young, May 2021 by Forrest Personnel

Forrest Personnel is a local charity. We specialise in supporting people with health conditions, injuries and disabilities to find and keep jobs.

If you think we can help you find employment, or if you are an employer interested in giving someone an opportunity to work, get in touch today.

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