Tracey's inspiring journey back into the workforce

Published by MAXSolutions on February 22, 2022
Customer Tracey working in gardens

After spending nearly 20 years caring for her children, including her son who lives with Autism and ADHD, Gawler local Tracey Scrimshaw has recently journeyed back into the workforce and into a role with InComPro, an organisation supporting Indigenous people.

Her journey in employment wasn’t without its challenges and the 56-year-old who lives with depression was put to the test many times.

“I applied and got accepted to do a Certificate III in Social Services in 2019,” says Tracey. “And not long after that my dad passed away.” 

While she grieved and took care of paperwork and other matters related to her dad’s passing, Tracey started the course. 

“I did the first three months and then took a break for Christmas and then things again didn’t go well for my family,” she shares. 

Tracey’s brother tragically took his own life in January 2020.

The events took a heavy toll on Tracey’s mental health and when COVID hit in March she decided to take a break. 

“I decided to take 12 months off study to get myself together,” says Tracey. 

With Tracey’s son reaching adulthood, she was transferred from a carer’s allowance to the JobSeeker payment and came into MAX in Gawler.

“When I first went there, I was a bit disappointed because I was doing a course and didn’t feel like I needed to be there,” she says. 

Tracey connected with her namesake MAX consultant, Tracey Smart.

“My consultant Tracey gave me a lot of support, talked with me whenever I needed and allowed me time to get myself back together,” shares Tracey. 

To help Tracey manage her mental health, a MAX Health Coach connected her with a care plan and a psychologist.

As her mental health improved, the team provided practical supports that enabled Tracey to complete First Aid and Manual Handling Certificates along with a medicine administration qualification to increase her employability. 

With her mental health in check, her confidence growing and a qualification within reach, things really changed for Tracey.

Before she’d even finished her Certificate III in Social Services, Tracey was offered three different jobs.

“I hadn’t been for a job interview in something like 17 years and went for three jobs and was offered all three,” she says. 

Tracey chose to take a personal carer role at InComPro Aboriginal Association Incorporated, an organisation providing cultural disability, mental health and youth services for Indigenous Australians. 

For Tracey, the choice of employer was a meaningful one, having learned later in life that she herself has Indigenous heritage. 

“I always thought I was Indigenous, but I kept getting told I wasn’t,” she says. 

Her grandmother was Indigenous and chose not to share this part of her identity with her family and it wasn’t until she was an adult that Tracey’s suspicions were confirmed. 

She now knows her ancestors are from the Broken Hill area, likely of the Wilyakali people. 

In her role, she currently cares for a young man in a one-on-one capacity, helping him to do the things he enjoys each day, cooking meals for him and administering his medications.

“He is the most beautiful person and has such a great character and I love to make him smile,” says Tracey. 
“I love the people I work with. Going to work is not hard for me, every day is different. 
“My depression is a lot more manageable. I’m on medication but it’s all good. I’m beating it – it’s not beating me. 
“I’ve come so far and it’s just amazing. My daughter tells me she’s proud of me – it makes me feel so good when my kids say they’re proud of me. 
“I wouldn’t swap this job for the world,” she shares. 

While Tracey continues to explore what it means to be Indigenous, she’s sharing her heritage with her grandson, Ollie and using her skills to support other Indigenous locals. 

Congratulations Tracey!


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