Josh rides into meaningful employment  

Friday, 30 September 2022

Sometimes it feels like we are riding through life in the wrong gear. Despite all our efforts, the wheels won’t turn fast enough and every push is like an uphill battle.  

This is exactly how Josh felt before securing meaningful employment at Aircon Scrap. It may not be the fanciest job out there, but, for Josh, it beats working in kitchens and is a lot more fun.  

Aircon Scrap specialises in stripping, recycling, and disposing of old AC units. 

It is well known that diamonds are the most expensive commodity in the world, but do you know what else is worth its weight and then some? Copper. 

At Aircon Scrap, copper is the prized jewel to be found in our offices, homes, restaurants, and shopping centres. That is where Josh comes in. Like a prospector from the days of old who spent his time panning for gold, Josh takes his bolt cutters and screwdriver and mines for the copper. 

“I break them apart and separate what’s junk and what’s not from the aircons,” Josh said. 

From his account, AC scrapping is a delicate craft between open heart surgery and demolitions. 

“When you do this, you have to watch out for the oil,” Josh said. 

“It likes to squirt out of everywhere and will get on you if you’re not careful.” 

Luckily, Josh is always donned in his protective gear: steel cap boots and goggles.  

Josh standing outside the EPIC Assist office in Tweed, New South Wales

It took some time for Josh to find employment he was comfortable with. Before this, Josh had a bad experience in the hospitality industry. 

“Hospitality is not a kind industry,” he said. 

“The last place I worked at worked me from Monday to Sunday, no breaks in between. 

“I’d start at 9 am and then finished at midnight and then I’ve repeated the next day.  

“They were milking whatever they could.”  

This was not sustainable. It eventually took its toll on Josh. 

“I was depressed,” he said. 

“I just did not want to do anything, and I did not want to get up for work… And then they fired me.” 

Unemployed and struggling with his mental health, Josh registered for income support payments and soon found himself in the realm of Disability Employment Services. 

Disability Employment Services (DES) help people with disability, injuries, health conditions, or mental health conditions to find and maintain work. 

“I was with a few employment agencies,” Josh said. 

“I kept getting thrown to a new one, and then a new one.” 

After some time, Josh was put in touch with the DES service EPIC Assist and that’s where things started to change. 

“This is the only employment service that’s helped me,” Josh said. 

“Everything got better when EPIC became my provider.” 

Josh and Neil standing outside the EPIC Assist office in Tweed, New South Wales

Neil is Josh’s Employment Consultant at EPIC Assist. Neil’s job is to find the right employment for his clients. 

Finding the right employment always comes with its unique set of obstacles. 

In Josh’s case, location and transport were some of the largest challenges that needed to be addressed. 

“Josh doesn’t have a car or licence and public transport wasn’t a good option for him,” Neil said. 

“At the time, Josh struggled a lot with his motivation and depression.” 

Knowing the barriers that Josh was facing, Neil went about searching the local Tweed area for a suitable position. 

“We managed to find a vacancy which Josh was okay to interview for: a labourer in a small, family scrap metal company,” Neil said. 

“We called the employer and an interview was set. Josh needed shoes, a shirt, and jeans for the interview. So, we went shopping and bought what was needed.” 

On the day of the interview, Neil picked Josh up and accompanied him to see the employer. 

“It was ridiculously early one morning and I drove him to the interview and attended the interview with him,” Neil said. 

These efforts all paid off and Josh was offered a work trial. 

Knowing that transportation was still going to be an issue, Neil came up with an ingenious solution. 

“EPIC organised to buy Josh a bicycle and a helmet so he could get to work,” Neil said. 

“After his first day, the employer reported back that Josh did quite well and they would like to give him a chance.” 

Now, as Josh rolls further down the road of employment, he is happy to report that things are finally looking up. 

Wherever Josh goes next, the team at EPIC Assist will be there to support him. 

If you have a disability, injury, health, or mental health condition and are looking for some assistance in your job search, contact EPIC Assist today. 

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