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Paula's story: Good news and great joy at Christmas

It will be a different Christmas in Paula Hawkshaw’s household this year. A phone call from an employer offering her a new job has proved pivotal in giving her hope and delight to her family.

It is has become a tangible message of good news and great joy.

After a lengthy–and often difficult– journey as a single mum of two, including a child with additional needs, Paula was offered the job of her dreams in aged care.

Paula’s path to employment began with a visit to Wesley Mission’s ParentsNext in Wyong, a program designed to help parents successfully enter or re-enter the workforce by the time their children start school.

Nikki Irwin from ParentsNext sat down with Paula and explained all the ways the program could assist her family. As Nikki shared the options available, Paula noticed a flyer offering the opportunity to train in aged care.

“I nearly jumped out of the chair when I saw the opportunity to train in aged care,” Paula said. “It’s the job I’ve always wanted. I love being able to help people who really need it and put a smile on their face if I can.”

With the help of ParentsNext, Paula was invited to attend an interview with Wesley Vocational Institute (WVI) just a few days later to discuss future possibilities and employment goals.

Wesley Training Group Manager, Len Grahame, sensed something special about Paula’s passion and determination for a role in aged care.

“We had a formal interview with two managers from the facility and me. I asked Paula a few questions about what she’d like to do in the future,” Len said.

After the consultation the employer selected her to undertake a Wesley Workforce Development Training Course. Paula worked incredibly hard throughout her training, and was rewarded with an offer of a permanent role at her workplace.

Paula said she was thankful for the support shown by everyone–from her family and all the team at ParentsNext.

“Without my family and ParentsNext, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I wouldn’t have had this opportunity. This job will change everything for our family. Plus, it will improve my emotional and mental wellbeing and help me be a good role model for my kids.”

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