Three young job seekers have been given the opportunity to gain real work experience thanks to Coles Burleigh Waters.
Palm Beach Health Service Officer (HSO) Natalie Thoumine was prospecting local Treetops shopping centre when she bumped into Coles Store Manager Karen Russell.
“I was on my way out when I thought I’d pop into Coles. I happened to meet Karen at the front desk,” Natalie explained.
Karen was looking to fill several positions within the grocery store and was more than willing to trial young people through the Prepare, Trial, Hire (PaTH) internship program.
“Karen has been amazing, she’s very supportive of the boys and was keen for them to come in and give it a go.”
PaTH not only gives job seekers aged 15-24 the opportunity to gain hands on experience in their desired industry, but provides routine and consistency for those who might be lacking motivation.
This was the case for 19 year old Casey who had challenges with communication, social skills and managing stress.
After four weeks working in the Coles fresh produce section, Casey has matured in waves.
“I’m in a routine now; I get up on time, make sure my uniform is ready and come into work,” he said.
Casey ensures the store is fully stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables as well as tidying aisles and assisting with customer enquiries. He says the experience has been invaluable.
“Working on the floor, I get asked questions from customers all the time. Some customers are difficult but I try to listen and help the best I can.”
He is especially appreciative of the Coles team who have been very welcoming.
“I have worked places where I wasn’t treated right and had to leave. I like it here.” he said.
HSO Natalie says the improvement in Casey is remarkable.
“He didn’t seem to be taking it seriously at the beginning, he turned up to the work trial dressed inappropriately and was mucking around - I think he was nervous. It was a great achievement to see him dressed in his uniform. He fit in as part of the team straight away.”
The feedback from other fresh produce staff was equally as encouraging.
“They’re really impressed with the boys.”
The PaTH program gave Coles Store Manager Karen the opportunity to see if Casey was the right fit for the job and her team, while providing Casey new skills and a great referee.
For Karen, the PaTH participants are no different to any other employee. They need to show up on time and prove their skills in speed and efficiency like any other staff member. At the end of the four week trial, Casey and the other participants will be assessed to determine permanent employability.
So far, the future looks fresh for Casey.
He continues to work on his communication ability and managing stress levels and hopes that permanent employment will come from his PaTH internship.
“I’m excited for whatever comes next.”
Image caption: Casey on the floor at Coles Burleigh Waters, ensuring plenty of potatoes for an endless stream of customers.