Isaac flexes his tech skills at WISE Employment as Junior Software Developer

Isaac stands in a black and white polo shirt, smiling at the camera.Growing up, Isaac held a strong fascination and passion for all things tech. Now an integral part of the WISE Employment team as Junior Software Developer, the 28-year-old Victorian is proud he could turn his hobby into his career.

Isaac lives with severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and autism. Despite developing some speaking challenges, he describes himself as an “introverted extrovert”, a perfectionist with a witty sense of humour.

Highly motivated, Isaac was set on securing permanent employment within the tech field. And while at times he was made to feel his disability was a barrier when seeking work with other organisations, this challenge only made him more determined to succeed.

Isaac first came in contact with WISE at an information session he attended with his father on WISE Ways to Work, where he learnt of the program ahead of joining in mid-2019. WISE Ways to Work helps people living with a mental illness prepare for the world of work, supporting them to build key skills such as concentration, memory and problem-solving, as well as mental and physical health management strategies. It also assists participants to secure employment and ensure effective supports and adjustments are built-in.

From there, Isaac was connected with his vocational coach and occupational therapist, Khalsom Willoughby, who he worked closely with in developing communication skills, strategies to improve cognition and inner confidence to tackle the challenges his disability posed, particularly speaking barriers brought on by his OCD rituals.

As a result of consistent check-ins and ongoing support from his vocational coach, Isaac discovered newfound confidence, placing him in a better mindset to turn his tech employment dreams into a reality.

“Isaac is an incredibly motivated and passionate person, who already had the foundational skills to thrive in a workplace setting. He just needed the opportunity to show his abilities and support from a team that had his genuine interest at heart,” Khalsom says.

Now Isaac couldn’t be prouder to wear the title of Junior Software Developer, working internally with the WISE IT team.

“The support I received from Khalsom and WISE greatly helped me in securing ongoing work. Khalsom always went that extra mile to help me realise I could thrive if I just believe in myself,” says Isaac.

The inclusive and diverse work environment at WISE ensures Isaac always feels protected and welcomed by his team, a third of whom are on the autism spectrum. Led by WISE CIO Mick Havill, his advice to other employers is to never judge a book by its cover.

“When I first met Isaac, he was quite reserved and shy, and now he is supporting one of WISE Employment’s biggest IT projects, in addition to being an integral part of the wider team,” Mick Havill says.

“People living with a disability often have low self-esteem from others constantly telling them their disabilities are seen as barriers. Once an employer shows care and support, they thrive in that environment and ultimately blossom.”

And that’s exactly what Isaac has done. “I now have a sense of purpose and structure to my life. For that I’ll always be grateful to WISE,” says Isaac.

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