Finding a career despite COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected each and every one of us in different ways. For Hien, border closures meant she was cut off from all her support networks in Vietnam. As a single mother completing vocational studies online, this put her at great risk of financial hardship.

Hien began studying a CHC33015 Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing, Home and Community) online while she juggled looking after her toddler Angela as a full-time, stay-at-home mum.

But when it came time for Hien to complete a work placement for her course, things became stressful.

Hien couldn’t afford childcare for Angela, nor could she find a work placement. To make matters worse, Hien wasn’t receiving any support or assistance from her online course provider.

Thankfully, Hien was referred to Wesley Mission’s Opportunity Pathways Illawarra Shoalhaven by SAHSSI (Supported Accommodation & Homelessness Services Shoalhaven Illawarra), which Hien says has really helped her get through the difficult past 18 months.

One of the first steps was supporting Hien through the process of applying for Services Australia’s Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS). We then supported Hien to find a childcare placement for Angela and assisted with the associated upfront costs, while Hien was waiting for her ACCS application to be approved.

Then we worked with Hien to find a suitable work placement for her vocational studies.

Hien began her placement with Uniting Aged Care, and though the COVID-19 pandemic put this on a temporary pause, we were able to be there for Hien and her family to support them through this time.

After Hien completed her placement, we helped her look for work. We supported Hien with updating her resume and cover letter and assisted her with job applications. We also referred Hien to Wesley Work Readiness, a fun and interactive one-day program to help her gain skills and confidence to flourish in the workplace.

We were there for Hien through the recruitment processes for her job applications from start to finish. So, our whole team shared her excitement when Hien was offered a part-time position with Anglicare Aged Care – the first job she’d applied for!

We’re continuing to support Hien in her new role as she’s still taking part in our Post-Placement Support program. As part of this program, we encouraged Hien to seek mental health care from her General Practitioner when facing challenges with anxiety.

A highlight of our work with Hien these past few years was when she participated in Wesley Operation Hope with her family. We referred Hien to this outdoor education-style adventure therapy program when her work placement with Uniting Aged Care was on pause due to COVID-19. Hien formed even more connections with Wesley Mission staff, and even began sharing meals and cooking for us all, to show her appreciation for the support she was receiving.

Since then, Hien’s continued to persist through life’s challenges to achieve her career goal of working in community services.

She’s currently undertaking a CHC32015 Certificate III in Community Services through Wesley Vocational Institute (RTO Code 90091), which has become a safe and supportive environment for her to continue to grow and flourish as a worker.

Hien was so grateful for the support she received that she encouraged her eldest daughter to sign up! In just the first three months since joining, her daughter, who’s 18, has already completed a SIR20216 Certificate II in Retail and has secured employment at Spotlight.

It’s a pleasure to work with Hien and her family as they strive for their career goals.

If you or someone you know could benefit from Wesley Mission’s Opportunity Pathways employment and training coaching services, don’t hesitate to share this story and/or get in touch with us by calling 1800 931 108 or emailing

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