Working to make dreams come true

August 17, 2018

The Salvation Army’s Employment Plus services provided a pathway to employment—and a new life.



Karl, a 57-year-old Wurundjeri man, wanted a steady job that would also afford him stable and secure housing. Living in the latest of many caravan parks, Karl was ready to ask for the help he truly needed.

Deaf from birth, the associated learning disabilities had seen him struggle with literacy and numeracy his entire life. Karl came to EPlus in October 2017 to see if we could help him achieve his dream of stable and sustainable employment.

Our job coach in Lilydale (Vic.) could plainly see Karl’s barriers to employment, but it was also obvious to everyone involved that her new client was a personable, gentle, kind man who was embarking on a new life path. 

She had a great feeling that Diversity Dimensions—an Indigenous Employment Parity Program with Woolworths—could prove just the solution. Understanding Karl’s barriers, our Lilydale job coach gave him intensive one-on-one coaching to help him complete the required online induction modules. 

After Karl was placed in a pre-employment program at Woolworths Canterbury Gardens, he ran into some immediate issues when his hearing aids failed and he couldn’t communicate effectively with his supervisors or peers. 

This might have been the end of his participation, despite the fact he was eager to work, and was unemployed through no fault of his own. But EPlus staff strongly advocated for Karl’s retention in the program, emphasising his commitment and personable nature. They were able to use an employment fund, and organised the purchase of hearing aid replacements to ensure Karl’s ongoing participation. 

Although he remained in the pre-employment program, Karl was now behind on rent at the caravan park. A little frustrated, it seemed like one step forward and two steps back. 

Determined to give him every opportunity to continue on the journey he had put so much effort into, our staff promptly referred Karl to The Salvation Army’s 
Moneycare mission expression, who took the time to contact the caravan park owner to establish a payment plan for him. 

At Woolworths, Karl gradually began to shine; his way with people was paying genuine dividends. His employer was so impressed with his attitude and work ethic that he contacted EPlus Lilydale to report that, not only did he “love Karl’s attitude”, but that he was offering Karl a fruit and veg restocking role. 

That was in November 2017 and now, eight months later, Karl is still working at Woolworths. Determined to get back up after being knocked down, he finally found his dream of stable employment. 

All Karl wanted was a fair go, and Employment Plus were there to help, not only working in partnership with other Salvo programs, but with Karl’s employer and the community. 


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Vol. 139, No. 14 // 11 April 2020

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