Matthew Steers His Career – Thanks to Skills Checkpoint

At 61 and living in Darwin, Matthew found himself looking for a career change, after a long 15-year stint in the public health space, working in suicide prevention, Aboriginal health and supporting domestic violence victims. Prior to that Matthew had been a paramedic for 25 years.

Matthew’s real desire was to work in a coordinator or consultant role, working directly with justice issues to make positive changes for disadvantaged community members.

Matthew wanted to stay in the wellbeing and suicide prevention space but he wanted to be out of the office more, in a role that was engaging face to face with other representatives in the sector, to make a real difference for the communities they operated in.

Worried about his age and finding employment in his field, Matthew contacted Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers to see what assistance they could provide. His career consultant from the program, Lisa Hayes-Graham worked with him through the program, assessing his skills, evaluating the employment market in the region and providing some potential re-skilling options for him.  The Skills Checkpoint program assists older workers to remain in the workforce and along with the career mentoring support, offers participants a 50% training subsidy in any vocational related study, assisting them to reskill or upskill.

Before coming to the program, Matthew had experienced a few job knock-backs and his confidence was very low. However, with many transferrable skills obtained with his long career in the health sector, Matthew had valuable offerings for any employer in the public health sector.

“My confidence was knocked with a few jobs I didn’t get, and when I spoke with the consultant from the program it was incredibly encouraging to find that I was still very employable and have a great set of skills and experience. It put the belief back into myself that I could still work in my chosen field”, Matthew stated.

“I was a paramedic for 25 years, but 15 years ago I studied as a mature age student and transitioned into the public health space in Darwin as I had an interest in Aboriginal health. I’ve had a few program management and project management jobs here in mental health and suicide prevention and have been working a lot with Aboriginal health organisations and community control health organisations as well as remote communities too. Also working in the justice space and family violence programs working with perpetrators of domestic violence.

“I’ve always had an interest in justice issues and those who are in need or less fortunate and a desire to help people those who through no fault of their own have challenging circumstances in life. My wife was also in the middle of changing careers and had made a few enquires with the Skills Checkpoint program and I wanted to see what was on offer and gain a new perspective on finding work”.

With encouragement from his consultant, and a contact lead, the great news is that Matthew has now secured work in a facilitator role – exactly what he was looking for!

“Wesley Life Force is a suicide prevention organisation and my new role is a community coordinator. It’s more of a facilitator role to help the communities come together and form goals and strategies to design a functioning group to help mentor and organise groups in need”, Matthew stated.

Skills Checkpoint career consultant in the Northern Territory, Lisa Graham-Hayes stated, “The incredibly valuable skills Matthew has developed over his long career in the public health space is perfect for his new role and the team at Skills Checkpoint are extremely happy for him and know he will be an incredible asset for Wesley and for the communities that are being supported”.

Matthew is looking forward to his new role in a facilitator position for Wesley Life Force.

For more information on the Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers program visit www.skillscheck.com.au

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