An injury shouldn’t lead to long-term unemployment, but for ex-car salesman John Youd, the battle to return to the workforce became a near three-year struggle that only recently ended.
For the 48-year-old Tasmanian, a debilitating back injury meant countless trips to his GP and other specialists.
Those demands, coupled with the daily effort to manage his pain and gnawing anxiety over whether his sales skills were up-to-date, meant he’d written himself off.
“I’d pretty much given up on work, I’d given up on life,” Mr Youd said.
“I was most scared of failure and the pressure of sales.”
Mr Youd worried that while he waited to recover, his attractiveness to a future employer would be affected.
Whilst reactions to being long-term unemployed vary widely and depend on a person’s circumstances, losing confidence in your skills and abilities is a common issue facing people in this situation. Labour force data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows there are over 90,000 people across Australia in the same boat as John.
Talking to Emma Stewart, a disability employment expert at MAX Solutions in Devonport, and tapping into her extensive job networks, helped break down the employment barriers for Mr Youd.
In reaching out to local employer Lifestyle Caravans, she felt that despite having a physical condition like back pain, it was important to see what Mr Youd could do at work, rather than what he could not.
“I saw John’s talents and worked with him to build his confidence back up,” she said.
“I saw a great position for him with Lifestyle Caravans and thought he’d be perfect for it.”
Hugh Williams of Lifestyle Caravans said the company understood the value of the right people in his business. In the sales industry, it’s important to have people who want to learn and drive the business forward. Mr Youd was hired not long after interviewing.
“John has been an awesome addition to our staff,” Mr Williams said.
“He’s been a fantastic salesman and he’s very valuable to us.
“MAX Solutions were fantastic. They provided John with extra training for the skills that he needed.
“They provided him with uniforms and clothing, and they gave me the assurance that his prior injuries were not going to be an issue for me.”
For Mr Youd, selling the great outdoors lifestyle to Tasmanians has transformed his life.
“Having someone to encourage me and to prod me into moving forward again made such a difference,” he beamed.
“I understand from Hugh’s perspective, employing someone who’s been out of work for such a long period of time that [could have led to] problems down the track.
“I probably have a better relationship with my family. I have my confidence back. This has changed my life.
“It’s given me a reason to get up in the morning.”
What does the future hold for him?
“I want to build my skills within the business and keep learning on the job to help the business to expand.”
MAX Solutions understands mature workers bring with them a wealth of talent and experience to the workforce. Learn more about the work we do.