Shaun’s Story – From Customer to Consultant
September 18, 2019
by Joshua Cook

Shaun’s Story – From Customer to Consultant

Meet Shaun – Husband, friend and proud Father of two. A hard worker with strong interpersonal skills, Shaun fell on hard times after he was suddenly diagnosed with Acoustic Neuroma – a medical condition characterised by nerve damage and hearing loss. As a result of this diagnosis, this sadly meant he was unable to continue his career as a Vehicle Painter, which meant he was suddenly unemployed.

Determined to provide for his wife and children, Shaun stood strong in the face of adversity and went back to school to study a Diploma in Event Management, in the hopes that this would secure his position and allow him to follow a career he was already involved in. Although he finalised this Diploma at Distinction level, he was unsuccessful in securing a job.

Fortunately, Shaun was put in touch with the Breakthru Wallsend team at the end of June of 2017. Having noticed Shaun’s compassionate disposition and lived experience of disability, the Breakthru Wallsend team suggested he pursue a job in community services. This saw Shaun enrol into a Certificate IV in Disability course, which he quickly completed with flying colours.  

After completing his Certificate IV in Disability, Team Leader Sam Murray then identified Shaun’s potential to help people in the community, thanks to his lived experience and cross-over skills from his past places of employment. 

Sam suggested that Shaun apply for a vacant role in the Wallsend/Raymond Terrace office, and soon after applying Shaun was informed he has been successful in securing a full time role with the Breakthru team. 

Having been in the role for only a short time, Shaun’s managers were extremely impressed with how well he picked up the new position, which was a much-needed confidence boost for the then-customer, now-consultant.  

“It’s been a great full-circle experience for me and helped me regain a feeling of self-worth”  

Working at breakthru

Working at Breakthru

It’s now been over 6 months since Shaun first joined the Breakthru team as a full-time Employment Development Consultant, and the team around him continue to be impressed with his relentless work ethic and compassionate attitude towards helping his customers.

“It’s a very rewarding job. I really enjoy helping people and seeing their lives change for the better”  he said. 

Though as with any job, it’s not always sunshine and roses. 

“While it’s rewarding, it can also be quite challenging at times to help people see the bigger picture. It’s really important if you want to go out and find a great job to have an open and optimistic mindset”

When asked about the wider team at Breakthru, Shaun said he always feels like he’s treated with the same sense of respect, integrity and genuine interest that any Breakthru customer would experience on a daily basis.

“Since joining the Wallsend & Raymond Terrace teams I see every day how they treat each other with the same respect for our individuality as we do our customers, and that’s why we’re the A-TEAM!”

For customers in a similar situation, Shaun says that you need to start the job seeking journey with the right attitude to succeed. 

There’s a system in place designed to help you find employment, and the system does actually work, but it starts with you

What’s next for Shaun?

Alongside his goals as an Employment Development Consultant, Shaun has demonstrated an interest for further study to understand his customers better. This has led him to undertake new qualifications in Mental Health First Aid. 

Outside of work, Shaun is an avid cyclist and he’s currently working closely with a bicycle company to collaborate on and release a custom-made signature bicycle later this year. 

Shaun also continues to focus on healthy living, which recently lead him to organise a 200km back-packing/cycling weekend getaway in the wilderness of New South Wales with a group of like-minded friends.

During their expedition, there is no telephone coverage whatsoever – as these weekends away are an intentional strategy to not only take a much needed break from work, but to recharge from life in general  

“Closing your computer when it is time to do so and having an activity you enjoy outside of work is important for maintaining a healthy mind”

Need help?

Looking for work, but not sure where to get started? Breakthru offer Disability Employment Services in a variety of locations across Queensland and New South Wales.  

If you’re motivated and need a bit of help finding the right job, simply get in touch with one of our friendly employment consultants today and we’ll work together to set you up on the path to employment.

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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