Single mum of three Robyn Gaffney had to make a life-changing choice when she was knocked back for disability assistance at Centrelink.
After suffering back injuries that made it difficult for her to stand up all day the retail store worker was worried about finding employment again.
“I didn’t think I would get work,” she said.
“What motivated me was when I went for a disability at Centrelink.
“They didn’t [deem] it was bad enough.
“That pushed me on to do the course.”
That course, a 26-week online program to get her a certificate in community services was organised through employment support provider OCTEC.
And it has led to her achieving a full time job in administration with families-in-crisis assistance body Anglicare in Orange.
“It’s very different to retail,” she said.
“It’s my dream job, I’ve always wanted to work in this job.”
She said she could bring an important ingredient to her community services role – life experience.
“I guess [it’s] being able to assist the kids that we have with what I’ve been through,” she said.
OCTEC helped Ms Gaffney to get a job placement with Anglicare that led to part-time and now full-time employment.
OCTEC Career Consultant Rebecca Plant and regional manager Pam Jackson congratulated Ms Gaffney on completing the course and finding work at a presentation on Tuesday.
Mrs Jackson said OCTEC had helped find part-time and full-time employment for about 20 people in the past three months.
Miss Plant said OCTEC had about 80 people on its books that were looking for part-time and full-time work in Orange with a further 15 undertaking study ahead of looking for work.
She said there had been a shift in employer attitudes to people with a disability in Orange.
“There has been a turnaround in mental health, it’s becoming more understood,” she said.
“Employers are becoming more happy to meet people and given them chance, see how they go.
“There’s a lot more part-time jobs.”