Dressed in his hi-vis and steel cap boots, Dean McLennan is putting his heart and soul into his new job in Gladstone as a Trades Assistant.
The 24-year-old Wakka Wakka man lives with a learning disability and was unemployed for four years whilst living in Townsville. Dean moved to Gladstone earlier this year determined to find a job which would not only support his young family, but also one he was passionate about.
“Since I was a kid I’ve struggled with dyslexia – I really can’t read or write, so I’ve just been doing heavy labour roles. When I came to Gladstone, I wanted a serious job that would support my family,” Dean said.
With a keen interest in Gladstone’s industrial sector, Dean wanted to break into the field but with no support, formal qualifications or connections and dyslexia to contend with, it was hard to do so.
Dean was referred to IntoJobs’ delivery partner MRAEL, part of the IntoWork Group, who connected with local Gladstone business Deploy Workforce Solutions to help him achieve his goal. Together both businesses helped Dean obtain formal qualifications, and found a tutor to help with his Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN).
IntoJobs Gladstone mobile employment consultant Lisa Rogers said it was a group effort getting Dean work-ready, “A lot of the work he’s done has been hands on but he wanted a job in industry and construction and he’s done really well. We were able to help him through his inductions by reading out questions to him and have someone write his answers for him, and we’ve enlisted help from a LLN tutor who is teaching him how to read and write for his final exam,” Lisa said.
“Dean said as a job agency, we’ve have been the most supportive one he’s had because we’ve been there if he’s needed a lift, or help outside of working hours, provided him with PPE and helped with whatever support he needed. We’ve had a lot of compliments about the way we roll as we’re different – we’re not just ticking boxes here, we’re here for the long haul.”
In two months, Dean obtained his Working at Heights, Confined Space, Gas Test, White Card and Site Safety Foundation and is now preparing for his forklift license. He started his new job in December where he works as a Trades Assistant, “The job is great to be honest with you, the crew is awesome and I love being able to keep my mind occupied and talking with the other fellas, and they’ve been really supportive about my dyslexia,” he said.
Dean said those struggling with LLN barriers should not be afraid to ask for help, “People who struggle with dyslexia, especially people like myself who really can’t read or write and are embarrassed because they don’t want people to find out, but talking about it really helps people understand. IntoJobs have been really supportive about my dyslexia and they’ve supported me 100 per cent.”