With his bright smile and youthful energy you would not know that Komi Adjassou has overcome enormous odds to make a life for himself and his family here in Australia.

Humble Beginnings

The 62 year old was born in Togo, a West African nation that borders Ghana, spending 17 years of his life there in a refugee camp before settling in Australia. Tragedy also visited the Adjassou family recently with Komi’s son, a promising local football star, passing away on the football field in 2014.

During all of this adversity, Komi has always been a positive and inspiring person, something he credits to his strong faith and religious beliefs.

However, despite his positive attitude, finding fulfilling work in our local area was very difficult for Komi. Given Komi’s refugee background, he faced barriers with communication and, aside from berry picking, had very little work experience.

Komi required extra support in order to follow his passions and learn the skills he needed to find satisfying and rewarding employment.

New Purpose

This is where CHESS stepped in with on-the-job support, arranging for a dedicated staff member with a trade background to work side by side with Komi, helping him with his communication and learning the skills he needed.

With the encouragement of the CHESS team, Komi recently secured a part time position at a local preschool and couldn’t be happier!

Nicky Misios is the preschool manager and can’t praise his kind nature and diligent work ethic enough. “The kids love him”, she has said. “This is one of the main reasons he got the job, even though he did not have much experience. He is a natural with children, welcoming them and lighting up their day whilst he gets to work, maintaining the large, bushy grounds of the school.”

Komi secured his new role in December last year, since then CHESS has been onsite for just over 60 hours, but this support is starting to taper off, with all signs looking like a successful outcome for everyone involved.

Business manager Nicky has a lot of praise for CHESS. Recruiting a new staff member can often be a difficult process for an employer but Nicky reports:

“CHESS has been open in communication and only provided suitable applicants for the position which made the process a lot less stressful. CHESS support has been outstanding and allowed a smooth start for Komi’s employment.”

Good news stories like Komi and Nicky’s are the lifeblood of CHESS. It’s what motivates our dedicated team of staff to go the extra mile in supporting local people and local business. We see the transformative effect that jobs have on people everyday. Regular work has a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing by connecting people to their community and giving them a sense of purpose.

Our Jobs Change Lives Campaign is running throughout the month of April, all the way till the end of May. There has never been a better time for employers to leverage CHESS’ free recruitment and on the job supports. For more information, visit our website HERE

A big thank you to Komi and Nicky for sharing their experience with us. For more stories like this visit our Good News Page

Ben is a valued CHESS employment consultant, based out of our Coffs Harbour agency. Ben has worked in community services since 2006 and has a keen interest in youth, mental health and mindfulness. He is a qualified yoga and meditation teacher specialising in scientifically validated techniques for depression and anxiety.