Like many young people who have left school, Ethan Johnson was at a crossroads and didn’t know what to do next with his life.
After dropping out of school in year 9, Ethan got a full-time job. “I hated school. I was always in trouble and doing stupid stuff. So I started working at Maccas for 38 hours a week, but after a while I got sick of it,” Ethan explained.
At 17, Ethan moved from Tweed to Noosa to live with his dad, and went to Centrelink where he got referred to BUSY At Work and became a participant in the Transition to Work (TtW) program. The Australian Government initiative is designed to help young people after they have become disengaged from school or are early school leavers.
“Natalie at BUSY bought me boots, a pair of pants, shorts, and checks up on me every couple of weeks, so I feel very supported,” Ethan said. “It felt good when I started getting stuff done and not just sitting around doing nothing.”
The employment consultants work closely with the participants, having weekly check-ins, helping them with job readiness skills including interview coaching, connecting them with education or training, and helping them find and apply for jobs in their local area.
Bailey Pascoe, 20, grew up in Coolum, and after leaving school, had difficulty finding a job. “I was doing a construction course, and when it finished, I just couldn’t find work. Centrelink referred me to BUSY At Work, and I got so many interviews,” he said.
Through BUSY At Work, Ethan and Bailey got their dream jobs six months ago at Bridgestone in Noosa as tyre fitter trainees. “Bridgestone is a great place. I just love it, all the boys are really chill, and the bosses are really good,” Ethan said.
Bailey agrees. “As soon as I got there on day one, everyone was so friendly. I work with such a fun bunch, we manage to keep our heads down and work, but on our breaks it’s like I’m not even at work, I’m just with a bunch of mates. I didn’t think I’d find a job where I like everybody,” Bailey said.
Penelope Lena, owner of Bridgestone in Noosa, Hervey Bay and Caloundra, feels the same about her trainees. “Bailey and Ethan are absolutely fantastic. They have often referred to us as their family, which is a very proud moment for us. I tell them if you just keep turning up and smiling, I’ll keep paying you!”
She says that Bridgestone is trying to change the face of their industry that has a “certain perception”, through the hiring of great employees. “We’ve always had a good relationship with BUSY At Work, they understand what we look for in our candidates. We look for customer service oriented individuals, and BUSY has always been very good at supplying candidates for internships, traineeships, and apprenticeships in all our stores,” Penelope said.
Paul Miles, Managing Director of BUSY At Work, said, “Transition to Work is a fantastic program that provides support for young people to help them find a sense of purpose through employment or furthering their education. Young people are the future of our country, and we encourage all employers to give young people a start in their business!”
Both boys plan to complete their tyre fitter traineeships and eventually become fully qualified mechanics through an apprenticeship pathway.
Bailey explained, “Up until now it’s been touch and go, but once I got this job, I knew it was the job for me and what I want to do with the rest of my life. I’m pretty happy that I found what I want to do.”
For further details about the Transition to Work Program contact BUSY At Work on 13 28 79.
MEDIA CONTACT: Manjari Fergusson
PHONE: 0436 422 757