Nambucca Heads local thrives in the workplace

Laura McMahon from Men at Work, Neale Howle, David Nash, Ollie Walshe from Nambucca Valley Council and Anessa Edwards from CHESS Connect.


WHEN Nambucca Heads local Ollie Walshe finished work with a previous employer in the area, he faced some challenges finding work due to his disability.

But he never let this hold him back.

Ollie, a keen worker and active volunteer in his local community, needed some guidance when looking for new employment.

He was connected to Anessa Edwards from local Disability Employment Service provider CHESS Connect who helped him build confidence in his job seeking skills, address employment barriers and link to local job opportunities.

“Ollie is dedicated, hard-working and willing to learn,” said Anessa.

“He just needed the right work environment to thrive.”

Anessa and the CHESS Connect team facilitated a collaboration between Nambucca Shire Council and Ross Cargill from local Labour Hire company Men at Work.

Together they formed a team of support and arranged an employment opportunity for Ollie to begin work at the Council Depot.

There, Ollie was connected to his work mentor Neale and the team at the Council Depot.

Neale has been instrumental in supporting Ollie in the workplace, providing patient guidance, and assisting him to build new practical skills such as vehicle servicing, oil change, equipment maintenance, towing and reversing.

“I’ve been working with Ollie for a number of years now,” Neale said.

“We first met him through Anessa at CHESS Connect and she was a real advocate for Ollie, always phoning and checking in, trying new approaches and making sure Ollie had opportunities to upskill.

“What really stands out for us is Ollie’s development socially and his new-found self-confidence.

“He’s come out of his shell, joins in the boy’s conversations during break and is confident now to show initiative at work.”

Ollie’s support team have continued to encourage him in and out of the workplace, organising training opportunities, manual vehicle driving lessons and upskilling in mainstream employment activities.

“During his time employed by Men at Work and working with Nambucca Shire Council, Ollie has undoubtedly learned practical new skills and gained confidence in himself,” said Laura McMahon, Business Relationship Manager from Men at Work.

“It is a privilege to be a small part of Ollie’s journey and watch him continue to grow as a person and develop within his workplace.”

Ollie continues to thrive, demonstrating his problem-solving skills, reliability, and own personal development, whilst building resilient relationships with his colleagues and community.

Through his own dedication and hard work, along with the collaboration of his support team, Ollie has flourished in his workplace, with the valuable life skills and experience he’s learnt, benefitting him professionally and personally.

Ollie is happy to get in and have a go at anything asked of him, always giving 100%.

He’s looking forward to his plans for the future, getting his Bobcat Licence, learning a trade and spending more time with the team at the Council Depot.

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