Hannah and the team at Breaking Grounds in Tuggerah
January 4, 2024
by Courtney Dunn

From shy beginnings to success

In May 2022, 22-year-old Hannah reached out to Breakthru's Tuggerah office. Hannah had recently graduated from school and was spending most of her time at home drawing and being with her mother. She admits she had no idea how to go about finding a job. 

With the help of Breakthru’s Support Coordination and Capacity Building Community Services, Hannah received guidance in creating a NDIS plan tailored to her career aspirations and pursuit of independence. She also tapped into valuable resources such as occupational therapy and transportation, and made use of Breakthru’s programs to improve her social skills and connect with her peers. “I’ve made new friends through these groups," says Hannah.

Kate Swain, Breakthru’s NDIS Regional Manager, recalls, “Hannah was quite shy when she first started with us, but she’s come out of her shell since then.”

Participating in Breakthru’s employment programs for school leavers equipped Hannah with essential job market skills, including travel training, problem-solving, resume writing, and interview preparation. Her exposure to various industries helped her refine her career aspirations, particularly in customer service. Kate notes, “Hannah’s passion for communication and customer service really shines. She has a natural talent that sets her apart from others.”

Hannah on her shift at Breaking Grounds carrying a tray of baked goods

Taking her new skills a step further, Hannah enrolled in Breakthru College and completed three accredited customer service modules. This accomplishment gave her knowledge and confidence, and made her more employable, giving her an edge in the job market.

Following her training, Hannah spent six weeks doing a student placement at Breaking Grounds, Breakthru’s new inclusive café venture. During this time, she fully immersed herself in every aspect of the café, including customer service, handling the cash register, and preparing food orders.

Initially, she was quite nervous, especially during the café’s grand opening event. Hannah shares, “I was so nervous my legs were shaking.” However, despite her initial apprehension, she quickly became an independent and a motivated team member, impressing both colleagues and customers.

Recognising Hannah’s clear talent for hospitality, her infectious enthusiasm, and her valuable contributions, Kate was excited to offer her a position at Breaking Grounds café.

Hannah now sees herself building a future in the hospitality industry. With a big smile on her face, she says, “I enjoy talking to customers and working in the café. I really love it."

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In the spirit of reconciliation, Royal Rehab acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea, and community. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future and we extend our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples.