Rewarding career for Donna
When Donna started in employment services in 1977, the world was a very different place. For example, the average weekly wage was less than $150 and it only cost around 50c for a litre of petrol. Donna says “When I started working, I would run down to the post office with telegrams for our customers. Nowadays people just use their mobile phones and don’t even have home numbers.”
After 42 years in the industry, Donna is retiring. For three and a half of those years, Donna has been working at the Toronto office of not-for-profit employment services provider Workskil Australia. The people she has worked with through her career have been diverse and predominately disadvantaged customers.
What drew Donna to the industry was her passion to help people and she wanted to work in an industry where she could make a difference. Donna says “The look on someone’s face when you’ve supported them to find employment and be proud of themselves is priceless. It’s really inspiring and makes you want to continue.”
A testament to Donna’s care is a recent letter from a customer’s mother thanking her for helping her son with learning disabilities gain a job in hospitality. 26 years on, Donna’s customer is still proudly working in the same job in hospitality and has won many employee awards along the way. The customer’s mother said Donna completely changed her and her son’s life and her wonderful impact is still felt 26 years on.
Donna’s career highlight came in 2008, when she won the National Employment Service Association’s Job Consultant of the year award. One of her support letters for the award said “Donna is a true advocate for her disadvantaged customers, acting with compassion, patience, perseverance and a sense of social justice.”
This is something that continued throughout Donna’s career and is why she has endeared herself to colleagues and customers alike. The Workskil Australia Hunter team are really going to miss Donna’s amazing spirit and passion. Manager Lionel says “Donna’s made a difference to the lives of thousands of people and we are so proud of all of her accomplishments. We’re going to miss her but we look forward to hearing all about the new chapter in her life.”