Bronwen’s warmth and compassion sees her reenter the workforce after 20 years
55-year-old Bronwen spent 20 years as the primary caregiver for her child who lives with a disability before deciding it was time to rejoin the workforce.
“When I first met Bronwen, she was extremely shy. As a mature-aged woman entering the workforce again after some time, the whole procedure can feel quite daunting,” says Rebecca Yuen, Bronwen’s WISE Employment Consultant.
With limited experience in the workforce, Bronwen was hesitant to apply for full-time positions and felt she wasn’t equipped with the necessary skills required.
To assist in the application process, Rebecca began outlining Bronwen’s previous experience, amplifying her natural skill set and seeking to secure a placement within an industry she would feel most comfortable in.
“Bronwen is a born caregiver. We combined her calm and nurturing demeanor with her dream of working in a hospital to find employment to suit her natural abilities,” said Rebecca.
After helping Bronwen craft an up-to-date resume, Rebecca encouraged her to complete a Certificate 3 in Hospitality Food Services, providing additional skills for applications.
“After our second conversation, Rebecca put me forward for training with SouthPort who help the mature-aged and people living with a disability. I was extremely nervous, as I’d never studied before, but Rebecca was there every step of the way,” says Bronwen.
Days after Brownen’s course had completed, an opportunity at Gold Coast University Hospital arose. Rebecca encouraged Bronwen to apply and worked closely with her to make sure she was prepared, including rehearsing potential questions that may arise during the interview.
“After applying for the role online, Bronwen got a callback right away. I came with her to the hospital, and when she was called in, she asked if I could come in with her. While that’s not standard practice, I wanted to ensure Bronwen was as comfortable as possible. I sat quietly in the room with her while the employer asked her questions, and when the interview was over she was offered the job on the spot,” said Rebecca. “At that moment, I couldn’t have been happier.”
In her role, Bronwen is in charge of preparing the patient meals, delivering food to the wards and assigning each meal to the correct patient and dietary plan.
“I love that every day I see a new face and hear a different story. Building a relationship with the patients is one of the best parts of my job. Each day I learn something new, and when I get home I write down the important things I’ve learnt in my ‘work bible’ to make sure I have something to refer back to if I ever feel lost,” said Bronwen.
Bronwen admits that gaining employment after two decades came with its hurdles. But with Rebecca’s constant encouragement, and support from her supervisors, Bronwen has claimed an empowering sense of confidence and autonomy in her new role.
“Bronwen has shown an incredible amount of resilience since working at GCUH. While it was certainly an adjustment, getting back into the workforce and being able to help provide for her family has given Bronwen a new found confidence she didn’t know she had,” said Rebecca.
Bronwen was also Rebecca’s first client at WISE, embarking on an incredible journey together. Bronwen is grateful for the support Rebecca and WISE Employment have offered, and for continuing the relationship with weekly check-ins, informal chats, with their mentor/mentee relationship outlasting the post-placement support phase. And Rebecca is equally grateful for the employment journey they experienced together.
“With cases like Bronwen’s, it’s important to reassure them that nobody wants to see them struggle. We’re here to provide any kind of support they need, and sometimes for mature-aged applicants it can mean different things. But you don’t have to be young to get your dream job – you just have to be dedicated, work hard, and have the right support to help you along the way,” says Rebecca.