Ethan’s Story – Central Coast Champion
August 9, 2021
by Joshua Cook

Ethan’s Story – Central Coast Champion

Meet Ethan, a wonderful, extremely hard-working young man from the Central Coast.

Ethan was born with a rare genetic condition called Cerebellar Hypoplasia which meant he had developmental challenges growing up. Doctors told Ethan that due to his disability, he may never be able to walk or talk.

As a young self-starter, Ethan faced these challenges head-on. Determined to defy the doctors, he started a journey to transform his life and become more independent with each passing day.

Taking the first step

With such a fun-loving yet highly motivated personality, Ethan knew he wanted to do something more after school. As he approached graduation, Ethan began to look at what options were available to him.

After hearing about the School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES) taster program, Ethan quickly made an appointment and started attending year-end supports. For 2-3 days each week, Breakthru staff members Kim, Donna and Katrina helped Ethan improve his employability skills.

Getting a foot in the door

Ethan first put his hand up for any opportunities he could get. His incredible work ethic and fun-loving personality saw Ethan and support worker Kim working together every day to find work experience opportunities.

Fortunately, the two reached out to Wyong Neighbourhood Centre, an Organisation that assists youth with emergency relief, referrals and advice. The centre was more than happy to provide Ethan with a work experience placement, and Ethan soon after started work at the customer service desk where he greeted his peers and helped them access any services they needed.

After a short few weeks working in the customer service team, the Neighbourhood Centre asked Ethan if he could help them roll out some website updates. From there, Ethan realised he absolutely loved web design, coding and all things tech. It was from this moment his new career goal was born.

Ethan and his Support Worker Katrina
Ethan and his Support Worker Katrina wave to the camera just after he finishing a good workday at OneBlink.

Switching careers

With his foray into the working world a great success, Ethan now turned his attention toward finding a job that truly aligned with his passion for web development. Having completed his work experience at Wyong Neighbourhood Centre, Kim and Ethan went back to the drawing board to look for more opportunities. But this time in the web development space.

After reaching out to some employers locally, Kim was eventually introduced to Darren (CEO at OneBlink) through a mutual acquaintance. Darren and his team loved the idea of having Ethan and his fresh new perspective on board, so they agreed to sit down and meet Ethan for an interview.

After a brief chat about his skills and experience, the OneBlink team were quite impressed with Ethan. Not only for his knowledge as a beginner but more importantly his attitude and enthusiasm towards work. Darren believed that Ethan would be a great fit for the team. Thus, he offered Ethan a work experience opportunity at OneBlink to help build his skills.

Ethan and OneBlink CEO Darren discuss updates to one of their web applications
Ethan and OneBlink CEO Darren discuss updates to one of their web applications.

Securing Employment

After a short period of time in the work experience program at OneBlink, Ethan quickly started to integrate with the team. Not long after, Darren and his team decided to offer Ethan a paid permanent part-time position.

“The work experience program was basically designed to help Ethan get some experience related to his TAFE course in a real company environment” Darren said.

“That went very very well, so we made Ethan an offer where he can continue his studies at TAFE while working part-time with us here at OneBlink”. 

Ethan’s job now involves a range of different roles and responsibilities, ranging from general administration to web development and more.

“It’s great, because I get to work with a lot of new technologies that I didn’t have exposure to 2 years ago” Ethan said.

As of July 2021, Darren and his team have worked with Ethan for over 18 months and they couldn’t be happier to have him on board.

“Ethan is very reliable, great at communicating and extremely attentive to his work” Darren said.

“He’s a perfect fit from our side of things. It’s a great role for him, and he’s been a great help for us”.

Ethan secured his paid employment
Ethan secured his paid employment doing the job that he is passionate about.

About the author

Joshua Cook

Holding dual degrees in Business Marketing and Commerce Accounting, Josh brings more than half a decade of experience to his role as National Marketing Manager at Breakthru, based in Brisbane, Queensland. His life's journey has uniquely equipped him to serve in this vital position. Raised alongside his younger sister Katey, who has Down Syndrome, Josh has gained an intimate understanding of the challenges and societal stigmas associated with disabilities. This personal connection fuels his commitment to the mission of Breakthru - to empower individuals like Katey to access the resources and support they require to live fulfilling lives. Through his role at Breakthru, Josh aims to break down the barriers and dismantle the misconceptions that often surround people with disabilities.

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