Waterloo local Brent said his new job has given him a fresh outlook on life.
There was a time when Brent, 51, thought he would never have a job. With little experience and a criminal record, Brent was ready to give up.
“Things were tough. I’ve done a lot of prison time over the years, I applied for quite a few jobs and never got any call back or anything,” he said.
“It was hard to find the drive to work. There was a time when I was just sitting around the house. I’d be doing my daily chores and that, but I’d be feeling really lethargic.”
It was through Eleni, his support officer at MAX Employment Darlinghurst, that Brent found his motivation and eventually ongoing employment as a Traffic Controller.
“Eleni had the same experience as me, a criminal history. But she found work, she knew where I’d been and she gave me some sort of inspiration to keep going.
“I had no desire to work before then, but she helped me out really good. She was the one that put me through the traffic control courses and that. Now it’s paid off, she stuck with me,” Brent explained.
Eleni said the transformation in Brent has been astounding, and she couldn’t be prouder.
“When I met Brent he kept asking how he was supposed to get a job when he was over 50, Indigenous, and had a criminal history. He didn’t believe he would ever work,” she said.
“Once I shared my story with him, he opened up more. We put him through a Traffic Control course and he eventually found work. Now his supervisor says he’s one of the best workers on the team.”
Eleni said the new job helped Brent from the start. “He had a pending court case,” Eleni explained. “He said getting the job was what prevented him from going back inside. After his first day he rang me and he said ‘I got the job, I wanted you to be the first to know.’ I was so happy.”
Brent said the best advice he was given was to never give up.
“You just gotta get out there, stick to your guns and just do the best you can. There are people out there who will give you a go, you just gotta find them,” he said.
“I’m getting up and getting around every day, I feel really good about myself. I’m doing the right thing for once in my life. I’m paying my taxes and I’m doing everything right."