Last week, the Jobsbank team presented Joseph Paley with the 2023 National Employment Services Association (NESA) Award for Achiever of the Year
At the end of his photo session, Joseph takes a moment to look at his award.
“It’s surprisingly heavy!” he laughs.
Twelve months ago, he was unemployed and sleeping rough.
He had just been released from prison and estranged from his support network.
After one freezing night huddled up next to a wall at a train station, Joseph decided things had to change and walked to the nearest office of employment services provider Workskil Australia. The staff found him waiting the following day.
“I remembered the support WorkSkil Australia had given me in prison, and I decided then and there to turn my life around,” he recalls.
Within 24 hours, Workskil Australia had connected Joseph to temporary accommodation, equipped him with a new set of clothes and a resume, and organised an interview with a supportive employer to get him off the street as soon as possible.
His previous trade qualification as a fitter demonstrated his potential, but it was critical to address the multiple barriers he was facing to secure ongoing employment. The team worked on multiple levels to create the support system he would need.
From a casual job on a building site, Joseph continued his training and development to several tickets and licenses, eventually earning a permanent role as a commercial building roofer.
Joseph’s outstanding achievement against the odds is now celebrated across Australia’s employment services sector. He has been awarded the 2023 National Employment Services Association (NESA) Achiever of the Year sponsored by Jobsbank; the award recognises a former job seeker who has received employment assistance and has overcome extraordinary challenges to secure a job.
“Today, my life is dramatically different,” Joseph says. “I have a car, I’ve moved from shared housing into a stable home, and I love coming home knowing I’ve done a good day’s work. I’m in the best financial, physical and mental position of my life. ”
“The record number of award nominations this year is a testament to the strong partnership between Australia’s employment services providers, the dedication and commitment of their frontline staff, and those employers committed to an inclusive and diverse workforce,” says NESA Chief Executive Kathryn Mandla.
In the world of employment, currently supporting more than 500,000 job seekers in the sector, the story of Joseph Paley stands out now as an inspiring tale of resilience and triumph and an example of what meaningful connection and true collaboration can deliver.
The National Employment Services Association (NESA) is the peak body for the Australian employment services sector. Our member organisations support more than 500,000 Australians facing barriers to work to find sustainable, ongoing employment through tailored labour assistance programs, vocational education and training, and wrap-around social and health services. Through partnerships with respected national and international research institutes, NESA works with government, not-for-profit organisations and the private sector to support design and delivery of effective labour market assistance and social policy. We advocate for an inclusive Australian workforce that offers employment opportunities for all Australians who can and want to work.
Jobsbank is an independent for purpose organisation based in Naarm (Melbourne), helping employers reach their diversity, inclusion, and social procurement targets. Jobsbank aims to achieve results that are sustainable in the long term. In every project the team identifies the social issues as well as the business opportunities and works on both levels to deliver positive social impact and commercial results.