Jacob Light-Burgess: Beyond the 9 to 5

Three men stand in a line outside a business. They are wearing polo with Prime Supplies Written on them. Forrest Personnel participant Jacob Light-Burgess is standing in the middle and smiling.

A 9 to 5 desk job was never going to work for Jacob Light-Burgess.

“I hate sitting inside,” he says. “I love being outside and going on adventures. I love my fishing – I could sit on a beach for hours.”

Jacob began working with Forrest Personnel after finishing high school, as part of our School Leavers Employment Supports (SLES) service. The service assists young people with disability to build workplace skills and experience, with the end goal of finding employment.

After getting to know Jacob and learning about his interests, the Forrest Personnel team in Bunbury initially found him a work experience position with Prime Supplies, a local industrial goods supplier.

But three months in, and that work experience position changed to a paid position. Jacob is now a store person at Prime Supplies.

Learning the ropes

While Jacob experiences difficulties around written communication, the approach taken by Prime Supplies has meant he has been able to thrive in his new role.

“Working with Jacob means we do have to take time to explain things differently and make sure he’s clear on what we need him to do. Sometimes that means demonstrating what we are asking,” says Operations Manager Nathan Potter.

“He is learning our systems. Jacob is pleasant, he turns up on time, and he is good to work with.

“We’ve actually gotten a few really good people by working with Forrest Personnel. Prime is also very passionate about engaging and providing opportunities for people whose opportunities may be limited.”

As a store person Jacob’s tasks include box handling, making new boxes up, breaking down bundles of stock, labelling stock and picking and packing orders.

“We have a very diverse range of products here – in British Imperial and Metric threads. There are more than 80,000 products here – so it’s difficult for anyone to learn. But Jacob is making that effort to learn, which is the most important thing,” says Nathan.

A new outlook

Jacob has always been heavily involved in his community – he’s part of the SES and he helps with the clothing bin pick-ups for St Vincent de Paul’s. He also works crowd control at rally car events.

But the position and paycheck from Prime Supplies has enabled him to start truly taking control of his future.

Not too long ago Jacob paid for and completed basic forklift training, and he is now putting his forklift ticket to good use at Prime.

Next on his agenda was learning to weld. Jacob signed up for a welding course which he hopes will provide even more opportunities.

“The SLES program has given me the opportunity to go out into the real world and get a real job,” Jacob says. “I can now put money aside for later, for when I decide to move out and buy my own house. It gives me independence.”

If you’re a young person about to leave high school and you live with an injury, illness or disability, we can help with what comes next. Find out more about about our programs for school leavers.
Send us an email or call us on 1800 224 548.