After experiencing a stroke then being unemployed for 12 months, mature age job seeker Christopher Rayward has found his feet in the leisure department of Bunnings Ballina.
A full time carer of ten years, 63-year-old Chris is now three weeks into a National Work Experience Program (NWEP) placement at Bunnings, helping the team unload plant deliveries when they arrive, unpacking trollies and restocking shelves.
Chris says that although the Bunnings job is fairly physical for someone his age, he loves keeping his mind and body active.
“It took me a while to pick it up because having the stroke took away some of my memory, but once they give me a project to do there’s no problem.”
Bunnings Leisure Supervisor Jeff sings Chris’s praises and was eager to show MAX Business Manager Matthew Crossingham the toils of Chris’s labour when he arrived in store for their regular catch up.
One of Chris’s tasks involved tidying up a section of the nursery and trimming the plants to be more presentable and Jeff was beaming as he showed Matt the outcome.
Matt said it was easy to see why Jeff had such a big smile on his face.
“The section looked amazing. It was very pleasing to see from both myself and the Bunnings staff.”
Chris’s previous experience of owning a retail nursery has shone through in his work, and Chris has even been getting to the centre before his shift starts to assist with moving and displaying stock. He has become very popular with all the staff, they all know him by name and treat him as part of the team.
“They really need me on Wednesday’s and Friday’s to unload the trollies,” Chris said. “It gives the staff a chance to do what they need to do and then they can carry on with their day.”
Job seekers have the potential to gain experience and demonstrate skills with the National Work Experience Program that places participants in real life work experience.
Image caption: Chris (far left) with Bunnings Leisure Supervisor Jeff and MAX Business Manager Matthew Crossingham.