We work with people from all walks of life, with diverse experiences of employment and careers. Here is just one inspiring story of how a recent Career Services client was able to adapt and change his career pathway.
From Shearer to Cheesemaker
Andrew had been a shearer for most of his working life but at 45 years old, he had come to a point where he was unable to physically continue in the industry. Over the past decade, Andrew has witnessed the increase in the size and weight of sheep and the consequent increase in difficulty in shearing them.
‘The growers are breeding larger sheep to remain competitive in the industry but it comes at a cost to workers who physically handle these animals”, Andrew said.
“It’s a young blokes game and there are very few shearers who remain in the industry over 40 years old”.
With several significant injuries, particularly in his shoulders, Andrew was forced to leave the industry and seek an alternative career direction.
Andrew met with Greg, a career counsellor from Career Partners Plus in Victor Harbor, to determine some possibilities for alternative career pursuits. In the initial conversation, it became obvious that Andrew did not fit the average shearer profile, as he had taught English in Japan, presented to groups of tourists in shearing demonstrations and had a very good working knowledge of irrigation and waste water treatment.
Identifying and deciding on a goal was the key task for the initial career conversations. Andrew was in a mindset that initially a job was the priority and if there was an opportunity for a job that led to a career, that would be a bonus.
The reality of his situation was that he ideally wanted to be available for his family and therefore would prefer to be working within 60 kilometres of Victor Harbor. The other reality was that he could not take on repetitive, heavy physical work, particularly where it involved lifting his arms above shoulder height.
Options for Andrew were jobs that included working in a team environment where his skills in observing, analysing, testing and monitoring could be put to appropriate use. He decided to cold canvass businesses that test and monitor waste water, as he had done some training in this area.
The Career Service sessions helped Andrew identify his motivated skills and some work was also done on his self-marketing. He began to make a concerted effort to approach businesses but he did not limit himself to just waste water treatment jobs.
With persistence, he secured a full-time position, with a local business, as an assistant Cheesemaker. His on-the-job training includes learning traditional methods of cheesemaking, in a very close knit working environment.
“The work environment is really positive and I am learning so much every day, it’s great,” Andrew said.
Andrew appreciated the career coaching from the perspective of helping him to identify his signature strengths to work towards new goals. As he had not required any self-marketing in the past, he also really valued the advice in helping him prepare his cover letter and resume. When the vacancy for the Assistant Cheesemaker was advertised in the local newspaper, Andrew modified his wastewater treatment application letter to suit the cheesemaking position.
As Andrew reflected, “When you think about it, wastewater treatment and cheesemaking have some similarities. They both use bacteria to create the desired result.”