Building and fulfilling potential are what unites us and at Jobedge, and our team are committed to helping people reach their goals and improve their lives.

Meet our Adelaide based Job Coach, Mel, who gives us some great insight into her time with the Jobedge team.

Welcome Mel! Tell us a little about yourself and your role at Jobedge?

I love people and have a heart for helping others and providing support and encouragement.

I believe that everyone is unique in their own beautiful way, and I hope that whatever I do in life helps inspire others to be their authentic, individual, wonderful selves. 

My role as a Job Coach is very well suited to who I am – though I prefer to call myself a “professional encourager” – it is literally my job to build people up, to believe in themselves as much as I believe in them, to empower them to make positive lifechanging moves forward in the right direction towards a more fulfilling future.

What led you into this line of work?

Is it corny if I say ‘fate’? Haha… but in all seriousness, I feel very blessed to have found Jobedge. 

Professionally speaking, it’s been an unsteady and unsure journey in my life so far, while I’ve been trying to find my direction and my purpose.

Before Jobedge, I never really took pride in my work – I was more of a ‘work to live’ kind of person. But in late 2020, a couple of more-than-a-coincidences lined up that led to me stepping right out of my comfort zone and applying for a position within the Jobedge team.

Long story short, a friend of mine said that my personality and love of people would be very well suited to Disability Employment Services, and with a leap of faith… well… the rest is history.

Describe your role as a Job Coach and your services for our participants?

My role is to equip and upskill people who are currently unemployed to make them a little more’ job ready’ in every appointment, which can vary day to day and is tailored around each participant’s current needs, barriers, strengths, and circumstances. 

It often involves upskilling in writing resumes and job applications or improving interviewing skills. Sometimes I’ll guide my participants to training or other opportunities to gain or improve their work-related skills.

Other times, it’s working on personal skills and self-belief; implementing some simple helpful tools, ideals, and affirmations help my participants believe in all they CAN do. 

Because I am walking alongside my participants while they’re becoming more job-ready, I notice the large and small victories and areas of growth that they achieve along the way. I love being able to honestly tell them that I’m proud of them and what they’re achieving, and hearing their response to my words of praise brings me so much joy. 

I honestly believe that every participant I work with has a beautiful list of attributes that would make them desirable to employers – it’s just a matter of finding the right employer and industry for each person.

Why should a job seeker consider Disability Employment Services (DES) with Jobedge?

Because it can make a world of difference.

Seriously. The word ‘disability’ tends to have a lot of negative connotations around it, and we play a role in reshaping the definition and understanding of what disability means. 

We provide understanding and support around health barriers, whether they be medical conditions, mental health, injuries, or disability. My role as a Job Coach has helped me address my own Mental Health issues, for which I am now receiving professional help. 

Personally, I don’t believe that anyone is living in a perfect body or mind. DES is here to help support you if your body or mind are restricting your ability to believe in your professional self.

What do you remember about your first job and the lived experiences you got from it?

Overall, my first job was not a pleasant experience – I worked for an employer who valued earning money over his staff (and customers). I was young and naïve, so this was a difficult reality to face. 

Five years in that workplace taught me many things – particularly longevity; I also learned my customer service, administration, and logistical and organisational skills. As the years rolled on, I felt stuck and obligated to stay there.

So I guess the most valuable lesson I learned was in my decision to leave: to value my own worth and take my skills to another organisation that would appreciate me and what I have to offer. 

Looking back, I guess it also taught me that my heart’s natural urge to value people more than dollars is perfectly fine, and I now love that this is such a big part of who I am.

What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?

“Volunteering leads to employment”. I was encouraged to volunteer years ago and was told that the work that I do as a volunteer could help lead me to work in the future. 

There’s actually so much truth to this advice – you gain experience and skills (which you can add to your resume, along with referees), and it helps to show your future employers what you care about and what you’re capable of achieving when dollar figures are removed from the equation. I highly recommend volunteering.

How has Jobedge helped you in your career and professional development?

Jobedge has been unbelievable. It has helped me step into my skills and abilities more than ever and has given me the confidence to continue stepping out into the unknown. I love that every day is different and that I can play a real-life, hands-on role in supporting and loving others. 

Jobedge provides continued professional development, which is invaluable. I particularly enjoy our monthly catchups with Momenta, where we come together to learn about physical and mental health barriers and ways of overcoming those barriers. 

I always walk away from these meetings refreshed and full of hope and optimism about the good we can provide to our participants. Now that I’m in this line of work, I’m excited to see just how far it can take me and all the good I’ll do with the skills that I continue to learn.

II always walk away from those meetings refreshed and full of hope and optimism about the good we can provide to our participants.

Now that I’m in this line of work, I’m excited to see just how far it can take me and all the good I’ll do with the skills I have learned (and continue to learn).

What are some of your hobbies and interests?

I love to socialise and spend time with people. Humour is a big part of who I am – I enjoy laughing and making others laugh.

I love music – I used to play and sing a bit, but these days it’s more of an ‘in the car with my headphones in’ kind of thing. I have an adorable dog who has my sense of humour, and I enjoy spending time with him and watching him be the silly goose that he is.

And I love nature – I love to surround myself with creation, so these days that means spending a bit of time in the garden and continuing to grow my pot plant collection. Oh, and I’ve recently started enjoying cooking too. I love how food brings people together.

What have been your highlights and memorable moments so far with Jobedge?

I often think back to my first day at Jobedge – I was privileged to spend my first morning with Momenta, where I met Carolyn and Paul.

Their genuine and authentic approach to life, our team, and our participants was a breath of fresh air – these are real people who care about real people. I knew Jobedge was somewhere that I wanted to be.

What is your favourite thing about working for Jobedge?

My favourite part about being a Job Coach is receiving a call or text message from an excited participant who has achieved a goal they’ve been working towards. 

I love watching my participants use the tools and skills that we’ve been working on together to further themselves. When their lived experience is moved forward in positive, life changing ways in a matter of days, weeks, or months – the fact that I get to both observe and play a role in these steps forward is such a privilege.

And these wins happen far more often than I expected too. 

I think it’s safe to say that what we’re doing here at Jobedge makes a difference every day.