Work provides Pauline with more than just a pay packet

Workskil Australia - Work provides Pauline with more than just a pay packet

For Pauline Barker, the social connection she feels at work provides even greater personal reward than the weekly pay packet.

“I just love it,” Pauline said. “Having this job has changed my life in so many ways. I’ve got my confidence back and I feel valued again. I get very emotional just thinking about it.”

Pauline is one of the many Australians who have recently found work in hospitality as the sector rebounds from the pandemic. 

However, the road to employment for this 47-year-old mother has been particularly challenging. Pauline spent 15 years away from the workforce while looking after her two young children and has overcome significant personal barriers along the way to finding a job where she feels valued. “I’ve been through a lot in my life, it hasn’t been easy,” she said. “When it was time to look for work again I felt like I was going nowhere quickly and I really didn’t know where to start. On top of that, the whole application process had changed a lot with everything now online and I wasn’t at all comfortable with technology.

“It was quite overwhelming and I felt left behind.”

With the help of Workskil Australia, Pauline undertook counselling and digital skills training before securing a paid work trial with popular Norwood café, Argo on the Parade, in South Australia. Her enthusiasm and initiative impressed her colleagues and earlier this year she was offered a permanent position as a café assistant.

“I was almost sick to the stomach on my first day but all the staff and customers have made me feel so welcome and valued,” Pauline said. “It’s a busy café but I like the buzz. I’ve come out of my shell since working here and feel really positive about where my life is going. My kids have also noticed the difference in me.”

Pauline’s team leader at Argo, Julie De Ionno that despite social restrictions lifting, trade was not yet back to pre-pandemic levels and recruitment wasn’t easy. “It has been a challenging year for finding staff and more importantly the right staff,” Julie said. “I look for a person that can work with a team, is hardworking, enjoys working, and works well under pressure. “In all the years of training I have never come across a person like Pauline. She really appreciates having a job and thanks me many times during the day for teaching her certain tasks.”

Having a job has now allowed Pauline to treat herself every now and again. “I’ve just bought a whole lot of shelving for all my DVDs. I’m a bit old school when it comes to videos,” she said.

Pauline says her case managers at Workskil Australia were supportive, understanding and encouraging along her entire employment journey.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the team at Workskil,” she said.

“They believed in me when no-one else did.”