Supporting Jess to achieve her goals

Jessica from Oakleigh South in the City of Monash has received employment support from OC Connections since late 2015.

In the two years since joining OC Connections Enterprises (OOCE), Jessica has developed an impressive suite of skills that will in the future help her to achieve her lifelong goal of attaining open employment.

Introduction

Currently, the 23-year-old splits her working week between three roles with OCCE’s not-for-profit car washing, packing and administration services social enterprises.

Most recently, Jessica has joined OCCE’s Defence Administrative Assistance Program (DAAP) where – as part of a small team based at Victoria Barracks in Melbourne – she provides administrative support to over 1,000 Department of Defence employees.

Jessica has shared that she really enjoys this way of working, favouring the diversity in work environments and skills. She also values the level of financial independence that working provides.

When she’s not working, Jessica enjoys a good book (preferably a thriller or fantasy), socialising with friends, pursuing her interest in art and watching her favourite TV show Game of Thrones.

Jessica’s goal: I want to develop my work readiness skills

The process

When Jessica joined OCCE, she met with support staff to develop an Individual Employment Plan (IEP). The IEP enabled Jessica and OCCE to collaboratively agree and formalise her development goals. An ambitious learner, Jessica set challenging goals for herself early on such as learning how to operate complex processing machinery on the factory floor.

OCCE worked with Jessica to see that she received the necessary training and support to achieve her goals. This involved a combination of formal on-the-job, vocational training as well informal ongoing emotional and social support. The latter has been vital in helping Jessica to develop her confidence and self-esteem.

Shortly following her first IEP meeting, Jessica asked to join OCCE’s car washing social enterprise which delivers an on-location interior and exterior car wash service to fleets at local businesses and councils.

So much more than just washing cars, this work has exposed Jessica to the importance of customer service, contract management and compliance, as well as quality assurance and control.

Jessica is very passionate about achieving excellent outcomes for her car wash clients and enjoys the opportunity to work outdoors with colleagues

Jessica’s achievement

Jessica continually focuses on developing her work-skills and understanding of the requirements of various work environments. She continually challenges herself by taking on new roles and responsibilities with confidence and enthusiasm.

Earlier this year, Jessica expressed an interest in joining OCCE’s DAAP team.
This program has provided a number of OCCE employees the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the inner workings of a Defence base while providing vital administrative support.

Jessica first joined the DAAP team as a work experience student. This gave her a taste for working within the complex Defence environment as well as the opportunity to learn more about administration work within a corporate setting.

Having enjoyed her work experience, Jessica formally joined the DAAP team as a staff member in April 2017.
She quickly built her confidence and over time Jessica has settled well into the team. Following a recent review of her IEP, Jessica has developed goals around building her administration skills and experiences by developing her data entry and document processing skills.

Jessica’s days at DAAP are broken into two parts so that she has choice in the tasks that she undertakes and variety in the work she completes. This also ensures Jessica and her DAAP colleagues have the necessary support required to complete tasks to the standard prescribed by the Department of Defence.

Attracted by the opportunity to work independently in a corporate office setting, the training that Jess has completed in the DAAP role has reinforced her interest in pursuing a career in administration.

Jessica’s goal: I would like diversity in my work-life

The process

Jessica has expressed that she would prefer not to work all week in the same environment. Rather she values the diversity in her work-life. for Jessica this has meant maintaining a combination of roles that nurture different aspects of her life-long aspirations.

Jessica’s achievement 

Working in three very different roles has helped Jessica to stay motivated and focused on her skill development. With each role offering its own set of challenges, Known for always being up for the challenge, Jessica has truly thrived in this setting.

Jessica’s goal: I want to develop my leadership skills

The process

Like anyone starting a new job, Jessica was anxious about joining OCCE.
It was important to her, as it is to most, to be accepted as a member of the team Having settled in quickly she developed a sense of belonging which gave her the confidence to set long-term goals and aspirations for the future.

Jessica’s achievement

Jessica was nominated by her colleagues to represent her team on OCCE’s employment committee.,The committee provides a mechanism for employees to provide feedback to management and input to OCCE operations. Recognised by her peers and staff as a natural leader, Jessica welcomed the opportunity to contribute significantly as a representative of her peers. Before each meeting, Jessica actively seeks input from her team members on OCCE opportunities and challenges and then provide feedback to the team on meeting outcomes.

Jessica’s goal: I want to develop my confidence with public speaking

The process

Jessica really wanted to develop her confidence in interacting with larger groups of people. To achieve this, Jessica chose to focus on developing her skills in public speaking.

Recently presented with the opportunity to speak at a colleague’s leaving celebration, Jessica worked with OCCE to prepare for a challenge daunting to so many of us.

Applying OCCE’s person-centred Active Support approach, OCCE staff supported Jessica in the planning, preparation and practice of her speech. Training was also provided on audience engagement, body language and strategies to cope with nerves.

Jessica’s achievement

Jessica’s foray into public speaking was a great success and since then she has continued to push herself out of her comfort zone, representing OCCE at Australian Disability Enterprises (ADE) exhibition at Victoria’s Parliament House earlier this year. Here Jessica spoke to politicians, ADE representatives and other guests about OCCE’s services and employee opportunities.

On another occasion, Jessica assisted in hosting the Hon. Wade Noonan, Minister for Industry and Employment during his visit to OC Connections. Jessica spoke openly to the Minister and other dignitaries about the opportunities she has enjoyed while at OCCE.

As evidenced by her ever-growing confidence, Jessica has also expressed an interest in developing her skills to undertake the base’s daily mail. Importantly, she does so knowing this is task that will require her to interact with Defence staff across the base. This will be a goal her DAAP supervisor will work with her to achieve.

Jessica’s support team have watched her grow into a confident young woman ready to take on the world. They have seen her take on challenges in the face of fear, ask questions when she doesn’t know the answer, discuss work matters with her colleagues and work through days that are challenging with notable levels of emotional intelligence and professionalism.

Conclusion

Over the past two years Jessica, with support from OCCE, has dedicated herself to preparing for her next big challenge – open employment.

Staff have observed Jessica actively seeking ways to develop both professionally and personally. The roles she has been exposed to in such a short period of time have both challenged and motivated her to keep setting complex goals for herself.

Jessica’s skills, experience, confidence and willingness to overcome challenges are characteristics that employers actively seek in new team members and that’s how we know that Jessica will be an asset to any organisation. ¬¬¬

We can’t wait to see what’s next for her.

For Jessica, the future is limitless.

For more information about the OC Co-Achieve Model, click here (Soon to come)