Elaine rediscovers her confidence at Rodgers Reidy

Thursday, 17 August 2023

It doesn’t matter how much we work, or how high up our position is, every day you’ll learn something new. Whether it be through an unfortunate mistake or from the guiding hand of your superior, every day you spend at work you become more competent and pick up new skills.

Some people find this reality a little scary, but Elaine from Rodgers Reidy says it’s her favourite part of coming to work as a forensic accountant.

Rodgers Reidy is an insolvency, restructuring, and forensic accounting firm with Australian and international offices. And Elaine has been working at their location in Tasmania for just about four months.

Previously, Elaine worked in a taxation office in South Africa before moving to Australia 23 years ago. Unfortunately, she had a battle with addiction and was struggling to manage depression and anxiety that stemmed from it. With all this ticking along in the background, employment didn’t come easy; she found it difficult to sit still and work in an office for long periods of time.

She went to rehab and stayed there for 14 months. And thanks to the overwhelming gratitude she felt towards the rehabilitation centre and a desire to help people, she decided to volunteer at the centre and help other patients.

“It was my way of giving back and trying to do my part and help people before I was ready to get back into that office environment. Before I was capable of getting back into the world,” Elaine explained.

Gradually, Elaine then began to look for employment. Still trying to manage her depression and anxiety while also dealing with some problems with her memory, Elaine was unsure if she could even find a job, let alone keep one.

Fortunately for Elaine, luck was about to turn in her favour. While she was living in Hervey Bay, she spoke to someone who told her about an organisation named EPIC Assist.

EPIC Assist (EPIC) is a local Disability Employment Services (DES) provider that helps people with disability prepare for, find, and keep a job they love at a supportive and inclusive workplace.

She contacted Centrelink and inquired about the organisation and if she could join up. They gave her the all-clear and the rest is history!

When she moved from Hervey Bay to Tasmania, Elaine got in contact with EPIC’s Regional Coordinator for Hobart, Claire Abbott. The two had a meeting together every week to discuss Elaine’s skills and what kind of job would be the best fit for her return to meaningful employment.

“Claire gave me encouragement and confidence in the potential skills I could have, versus the ones I already do. I was just thinking, ‘This is where I have to be and that’s it.’ She told me I was worth more than what I was doing,” said Elaine.

Elaine sitting in her chair politely smiling.
Elaine brings a smile and a great attitude to the Rodgers Reidy office.

Thanks to the experience that Elaine had gained in the taxation office all the way back in South Africa, she was the first person Claire thought of when Shelley from Rodgers Reidy contacted her looking for employees.

We spoke with Matt, one of the directors at Rodgers Reidy Tasmania, and he explained that neither he nor Shelley had any reservations about hiring someone with a disability. He spoke at length about how Elaine has performed in her new role as a forensic accountant.

“Elaine has been great! She’s very professional in her work. She’s obviously had some experience with previous jobs using computers and she’s fit in quite well with the rest of us,” Matt said.

We asked Matt some further questions about how Rodgers Reidy values inclusion and diversity and why that’s important. He said their aim is to change the stigma around people with disability being limited to jobs that require manual labour.

“If you want to change people’s minds this is the way you have to do it. You have to hire people and spread the word!”

Since starting at Rodgers Reidy, Elaine has felt fulfilled and supported by the team around her. One of the things she values most about the job is the constant opportunity to learn and keep her brain busy. When she began at the firm, she had zero experience with the new computers and their complex system, but she’s picking it up in no time flat.

“The important thing is using my brain, being able to celebrate the milestones. Remembering something and being able to do it. I didn’t think I would ever be able to go into a full-time job so, it’s really improved my confidence.

“The way I talk has improved as well! I’m writing letters too, so I get to learn more about how to adapt to a corporate and professional mindset. It’s making up for the time I spent out of the workforce. Turns out I’m worth a little bit more than I thought!”

Thanks to this position at Rodgers Reidy and the support of people like Matt and her colleagues, Elaine has found meaningful employment and a renewed sense of confidence in herself and her abilities. With the investigative nature of her job, her mind is kept busy, and she feels like she’s becoming more competent and quicker at tasks by the day.

She can’t give enough praise to Claire and the rest of the EPIC team for guiding her into her new position. Filled with gratitude and a new look on life, she gives them a ringing endorsement.

“Thank you, EPIC, for believing in me and other people like me. In the last four months I’ve spent here at this job, things have really changed for me.

“It’s a great thing that EPIC is doing; it means I can have a better future and stuff to look forward to. They actually listen to what you need, they don’t just suggest stuff based on what they know.

“The best employment service provider I’ve both seen used and been a part of!”

Elaine’s journey with Rodgers Reidy is only just beginning and you can bet EPIC Assist will be supporting her through every stage of her employment.

Good on you, Elaine!

If you are living with a disability, injury, health condition, or mental health condition and looking to find meaningful employment, contact EPIC Assist today.

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