Vicki was working 20 hours a week as a shop assistant, but due to significant personal issues she feared she would lose her job.

She was referred to IMPACT Community Service's Employment First Aid program by her jobactive provider as her complex situation was beyond the level of support their post placement team could provide.

The trust Vicki built with her Employment First Aid (EFA) mentor allowed her to disclose the barriers that were holding her back; intellectual impairment, mental health anxiety and, with two children in the child safety system, she was feeling overwhelmed with grief and depression.

Vicki had been involved in lengthy proceedings to be reunited with her children and, not having anyone else to turn to, asked her EFA mentor to be present at all her future meetings.

The mentor explained this was outside her field of expertise, but she could connect her to IMPACT’s Positive Start Parenting program.

Vicki was also supported to connect with headspace and Phoenix House.

Her situation became more complicated when her visitation for her second daughter was reduced from weekly to monthly.

With Vicki's permission, her EFA mentor contacted her employer to provide transparency around what she was going through.

This open communication developed a respectful working relationship and allowed the mentor to also support Vicki with some of the employer's concerns, such as inappropriate language with customers and the use of filters.

Another concern the mentor helped address was Vicki would regularly leave the front desk when she had a question for her boss instead of using the intercom, significantly increasing the chance of theft.

It was clear that Vicki also needed guidance when understanding the chain of command in a workplace.

A strategy the EFA mentor employed to overcome this obstacle was to draw the ‘hierarchy’ in the workplace on a whiteboard for Vicki to visualise (store owner at the top, then store manager, then staff, etc).

The mentor also used examples from her own position at IMPACT to help Vicki understand and respect the different roles in the workplace.

In the short space of time the mentor was working with her, Vicki made significant improvements at work and in her ability to deal with her personal issues.

She is more confident now and presents with a much more professional attitude and behaviour.

Vicki * knew it would be difficult asking for help and sharing the problems she was facing, and is grateful EFA was there to support her and help her build for the future.

* Vicki's name has been changed to protect her identity