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Finding the job for Jake: A story of employment renewal

Jake rests his hands on either side of a riffle splitter

This is a story about Jake. It’s a story of perseverance, patience and ultimate renewal. Although it’s absolutely his story, it’s instructional in that it reminds us that we can get to a better place by backing ourselves often with the support of others.

Twelve years of his life

This chapter begins with Jake having worked in an abattoir for 12 years. He spent those years as a hook processor (we invite you to imagine). He was hungry for change, but – working in collaboration with Donna Bastow, his Forrest Personnel Employment Consultant – was not having any success brokering change in his working life. There was nowhere to go within the structure of the abattoir.

Getting skilled up

Jake considered his options, and he and Donna reached a conclusion that lab analysis might be a future path. He took annual leave and completed a work experience stint in a lab with our friends at Tronox.

Concluding that lab work might be for him, he self-financed his Cert III in Laboratory Skills at TAFE. Jake used his long service leave to study while continuing to work part time at the abattoir. The pace of this transformation seems unrelenting, but fear not. We assure you that he does arrive at his destination.

Enter Civitest

Having successfully completed his certificate, a work experience opportunity at Civitest (a locally owned soil, aggregate and concrete testing business) presented itself. And that, you won’t be surprised to learn, morphed into a job for Jake. Bravo we say!

Jake uses his hands to tilt a circular sieve towards the camera

Jake shows off a sieve at Civitest. Photo by oxy images

We visited Jake one afternoon while on the job. The atmosphere was calm (unlike an abattoir, we thought) and friendly. We were ushered into the lab by team member Raelene Bataille and immediately witnessed Jake with tools in hand. We were introduced to a riffle splitter (a device that’s used for dividing one lot of dry particle material into two halves), sieves and tins used for measuring sediment.

Small tins containing sediment for measuring purposes

Tins used for measuring sediment at Civitest. Photo by oxy images

Jake was clearly at home in this very early stage of his new job. He told us that: “It’s great to be with a friendly and supportive team. I’m not as isolated as I was in my previous job. There’s always someone to give assistance if you get stuck.”

Jake rests his hands on either side of a riffle splitter

Jake rests his hands on a riffle splitter at Civitest. Photo by oxy images

Reflecting on the journey

Life is often about a journey, and Jake’s certainly been on an extended one. We were keen to hear him reflect on doing three things at once: working, studying and searching for renewal. He revealed that: “It’s been an interesting journey, difficult at times. But it’s been great having Donna working with me to find solutions to the issues that come up.”

Jake has his hands on either side of a circular sieve

Jake shows off the contents of a sieve at Civitest. Photo by oxy images

The job for Jake

Was he finding his place at Civitest, we wondered? Raelene confirmed that: “The company applauds people who take the initiative to widen their employment options. This is why we’ve given Jake a chance to use his new skill set, and he’s demonstrating that he’s a wise choice and a great team member.”

After this extended journey of perseverance and renewal, it would appear this is not just any job for this young man. Rather, it’s the job for Jake.


Feature photo: Jake with hands on a riffle splitter at Civitest, 2020. Photo: Rob Cox, oxy images

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

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