True Stories: Sharon Tierney – Providing solutions

I had been working in recruitment for a number of years, but it got to the stage where I wasn’t getting much job satisfaction because the people I was recruiting actually didn’t need my help finding work – they were all highly experienced, professional people. Realistically, they could get jobs without my assistance and solutions.

Plus the company I was working for was purely profit based and that didn’t really align with my values. So I looked for an organisation that attracted me in terms of their values, operation and quality. The Mai-Wel Group ticked all these boxes. An added bonus was they were about helping people who needed it.

I started off as a Casual Support Officer. Three months later I secured a permanent part-time position with Mai-Wel LabourForce Solutions. Then I worked my way up to Assistant Manager, and today I am the Manager of the Cessnock and Kurri Kurri sites. Across these two sites, I manage12 staff who provide employment services for people with a disability.

We’re currently assisting over 150 people to gain meaningful, open employment. My role is all about connecting with people, building trust and relationships. I connect with staff, giving them guidance, support, supervision and encouraging job growth; I connect with business partners in the community; and I connect with our job seekers.

Since starting at Mai-Wel, I have embarked on my Masters in Disability Studies. This coupled with my original qualifications in business and marketing gives me a holistic framework to support people with disability to find work. I love what I’m learning at uni and the fact that I can instantly apply it to my work.

The hardest part of my role is that we service a regional area that is highly disadvantaged, with low levels of literacy and numeracy, high levels of unemployment, and a family cycle of unemployment and people living off welfare. But I don’t let that stop me.

Together, my team and I put in place support and interventions to support people to build skills and knowledge to change their attitude and circumstances. And that’s what I love about my job – we’re not just finding people work, we’re finding them solutions to change their lives.

Sharon Tierney
Manager, Mai-Wel LabourForce Solutions, ES9
The Mai-Wel Group

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