My Mum was diagnosed with terminal Stage 4 lung cancer in March 2012. After watching Mum deteriorate over the course of 6 months we said goodbye to her a few days after Christmas on December 30th 2012.

One of Mum’s last wishes was for my sister and I to finish high school and be the first of our family of 5 to get our HSC. She’d always told us that if you wanted to create opportunities for yourself you needed an education. I’d dropped out of school in year 10, but I told her I’d go back for her. We made a promise, knowing that she wasn’t going to be around to see us graduate. I said to my sister:

“Either we do this, or nothing for the rest of our lives.”
We both committed to returning to our studies in February 2013 at the local Toormina High School. My sister and I would not have gotten through without the support of the community, Principle Elizabeth Donan, Aboriginal Education Officer Judith Peen & Penny Grace, Aunty Vicky, Larissa Savile and our teachers at Toormina High.

Fresh Beginnings

As a result of going back to School I meet Kelly Gittins from NovaSkill. Kelly was the first to ask me an important question

“What ya wanna do?”
I said I would like to work in business and Kelly was kind enough to put me in touch with Chris Jones and Nathan Hardy at CHESS, who took me on as an Aboriginal school based trainee.

I started at CHESS on the 13th of November 2013 for 1 day per week while I continued my studies. During this time I honed my skills in customer service and office work. I continued in this role for 2 years until I completed my Higher School Certificate.

After I finished school the incredible Senior Management Team took a chance with me and I was promoted to a full time Administration Assistant. For me, this was an amazing feeling of accomplishment and validation for all the hard work I’d put in.

I’ve been working at CHESS for over 3 years now. During this time I went on to complete Cert IV in Community Services while working on the job. I’ve been promoted to the full time role of Employment Consultant – helping people of our local community find sustainable and fulfilling employment – a role that I believe brings me full circle. I asked CHESS for help when I needed it and CHESS came through and now I get to return the favour and support others in reaching their own goals.

We are always looking for passionate and dedicated individuals to join our team. Visit our Careers@CHESS for current vacancies.

In the News: Mum’s last wish comes true

Brian is a vibrant Disability Employment Consultant and a valued member of the CHESS team, a company with vision and heart, supporting locals in the Mid North Coast & Clarence regions for over 20 years.

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