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Leah's Journey

A Story of Resilience and Support

Meet Leah, a resident of Redcliffe who has been on an inspiring journey of personal growth and career development. Her story is a testament to the power of resilience, the importance of support, and the transformative impact of having a goal and pursuing it relentlessly.

The Beginning

Leah’s journey began when she was working as a support worker, a role that was challenging both physically and mentally. After two years, she left, seeking a change and a more supportive environment. This decision led her to TURSA, a job service provider that offered her the support she felt was lacking in her previous role.

The Turning Point

At TURSA, Leah found more than just a job service provider. She found a partner in Peter, a DEA at TURSA, who became a pillar of support for her. Peter’s assistance ranged from moral support to helping Leah with her resume, making it stand out and opening doors to new opportunities. Leah credits Peter as being the most helpful job service provider she’s ever had, a sentiment that speaks volumes about the level of support and assistance TURSA provides.

The Transformation

With TURSA’s support, Leah’s life began to transform. She moved to Redcliffe, found a new job as a personal care worker at a nursing home, and even bought herself a car. TURSA also provided financial assistance, helping Leah with uniforms, transport, and other work-related expenses.

Leah’s journey didn’t stop there. She continued to seek better opportunities, leading her to a permanent part-time Activities Officer role at Seabrook Aged Care in Deception Bay. This role, which Leah describes as her dream job, allows her to design and practice activities with her clients at the facility, a task she thoroughly enjoys.

The Future

Today, Leah is not just surviving; she’s thriving. She’s enrolled in a Cert IV in Leisure and Health course, which directly relates to her work duties and helps her upskill. She’s maintaining solid work hours and is progressing well through her coursework.

Leah’s story powerfully reminds us that transformation is possible with the proper support and a willingness to strive for your goals. Her journey is a testament to the genuine assistance available at TURSA.

Employment Opportunities for Individuals with Autism


Autism is a spectrum disorder that affects individuals differently, often enhancing specific skills and abilities. April, recognised as Autism Awareness Month, is an opportune time to discuss the unique skill sets of individuals with autism and the benefits they bring to the workplace.  To gain a deeper understanding of Autism and available supports click here

Unique Skill Sets

People with autism often possess unique skills that can be highly beneficial in various job roles. These may include:

  • Attention to Detail: Many individuals with autism excel in tasks requiring precision and meticulousness.
  • Strong Memory: They often have an exceptional ability to recall facts and details.
  • Systematic Thinking: Their ability to understand systems and patterns can be advantageous in fields like IT and data analysis.

Benefits of Employing Individuals with Autism

Employing individuals with autism is not just about providing opportunities; it also brings tangible benefits to businesses:

  • Diversity and Inclusion: It fosters a diverse and inclusive work environment.
  • Unique Perspectives: It brings unique perspectives that can lead to innovative solutions.
  • Reliability: Individuals with autism are often highly reliable and punctual.

Support for Individuals with Autism

Various supports are available to assist individuals with autism in the workplace:

  • Job Coaches: They provide one-on-one training and support in the workplace.
  • Supported Employment Programs: These programs offer assistance with job searches and interviews.
  • Workplace Adjustments: Employers can adjust the work environment to help autistic individuals achieve their potential.

TURSA: Championing Employment for Individuals with Autism

TURSA, as a Job Services Provider, successfully supports employment for people living with autism. TURSA understands the unique challenges and strengths of individuals with autism and works closely with them to find suitable employment opportunities. TURSA also works closely with other community organisations, employers, and participants to ensure they have the tools, support, and modifications needed to achieve their goals.

Hiring Autistic Individuals: A Guide for Employers

So, you’ve read a little about the facts and benefits of hiring autistic people. Let’s delve into the practical steps to make this process successful. Whether your candidates are neurodiverse or not, setting them up for success is crucial.

Key Considerations

When hiring autistic or neurodiverse candidates, keep the following points in mind:

  1. Rethink the Interview Process: There may be better approaches than traditional interviews. Instead, focus on observing and assessing candidates based on their abilities within your organization or team. Look beyond scripted answers and consider their practical skills and potential contributions.
  2. Holistic People Processes: Consider the entire employee lifecycle, from hiring to onboarding. Ensure that your processes are inclusive and supportive. This includes adapting your career progression paths to accommodate diverse talents and strengths.
  3. Cultivate an Inclusive Culture:
    • Respect Differences: Embrace diversity by acknowledging and respecting individual differences. Autistic individuals bring unique perspectives and skills to the table.
    • Mentorship: Provide mentorship programs to support neurodivergent thinkers. Mentorship goes beyond career planning—it helps navigate workplace nuances and fosters a sense of belonging.  Speak with your Job Service Provide for more information.
    • Beyond Acceptance: Aim for more than mere acceptance. Create an environment where everyone feels they truly belong.

By implementing these strategies, you can contribute to a more inclusive workforce and provide equal opportunities for autistic individuals. Let’s work together to create a workplace where everyone thrives! 

Remember, every workplace can make a difference by adopting these changes, many of which are low-cost or cost-free1. Let’s empower autistic individuals and celebrate their unique abilities! 

Employing individuals with autism is a win-win situation. It provides opportunities for a marginalised group while bringing unique skills and perspectives to the workplace. With the proper support and understanding, individuals living with autism can thrive in the workplace.

Suzanne’s Journey: Focus, Training, Dedication and Transformation and now loving life again.

Suzanne found meaningful employment with the collaboration of Wesley Mission and TURSA

Interview with Suzanne – TURSA Participant

“Loving life”

Suzanne, it’s great to have you here today. How did TURSA support you in gaining confidence and securing a job you love?

Absolutely. When I returned from Bundaberg with my individual support in disability, I faced challenges getting into aged care. But thankfully, Kim at TURSA suggested that CHS Training offered personal support and aged care courses, so I enrolled.

That sounds like a pivotal moment. So, Suzanne, you enrolled into the course. How did that go?

Yes, I did the course about 18 months ago and finished it successfully. CHS were amazing and treated me like family.

Fantastic. Please tell us more about Kim’s support during this time.

Kim’s support was instrumental in my journey. She helped me get into training and assisted in finding job opportunities. I used to work for Daugherty, and now I’m with Wesley. Kim helped secure both those positions.

What other services or supports did Kim connect you with?

Kim helped boost my self-confidence a lot. It wasn’t just about finding jobs but about believing in myself and my abilities.

That’s wonderful to hear. Suzanne, how has your life changed since completing the course?

My job satisfaction has increased significantly. I love working in out-of-home care; it’s much more fulfilling. And thanks to Kim’s support, I feel more confident and capable in my role.

Suzanne, could you tell us about your journey with TURSA from the first time you joined?

I was with TURSA for about 6-7 months initially, and while I didn’t find work then, I continued my education. Then, I spent nine months in a nursing home, but it wasn’t the right fit for me. That’s when Kim suggested Wesley Mission, and the rest is history.

 Suzanne, how quickly did things progress once Kim suggested Wesley?

It was amazing. Kim submitted my resume, and the next day, I got a call for an interview at Wesley. It felt like everything fell into place perfectly.

That’s incredible. It’s clear that TURSA and Kim, CHS Training and Wesley Mission  have been invaluable in your journey, Suzanne. Thank you for sharing your story with us today.

CHS Training: Empowering the Community Through Collaboration to provide Training Support and Employment

Interview with Darren from CHS Training

About CHS Training

CHS Training, located next to the railway station in South Grafton, has been serving the community for close to 18 years. Initially focused on hospitality services, we’ve expanded into various areas, including RSA, RCG, Whitecard, Individual Support, construction, and traffic control training. We emphasize delivering face-to-face training that aligns with community needs and yields the best outcomes for our participants.

Collaboration with Community Organisations

Collaboration is vital in ensuring participants receive the support they need to succeed. Over the years, we’ve developed strong partnerships with organisations like TURSA. By understanding participants’ unique challenges, we can tailor our training to meet their requirements effectively. Our trainers are adept at contextualising the training to suit the individual, ensuring a personalised approach that maximises success.

A great example this is Suzanne who came to us through TURSA and is now successfully employed at Wesley Mission and loving her new role.

Impact of Collaboration

We’ve had participants who have faced significant barriers to employment, whether it’s lack of experience or other personal challenges. Through our collaboration with organisations like TURSA, we’ve provided training, ongoing support, and guidance. This holistic approach has enabled participants to gain confidence, acquire new skills, and secure employment opportunities. Seeing individuals overcome obstacles and thrive in their chosen fields is incredibly rewarding.

Our Goal

At CHS Training, we aim to empower individuals to reach their full potential. Whether through RSA certification, Whitecard training, or any other course, we strive to equip participants with the skills and confidence they need to succeed in their chosen careers. By collaborating with organisations like TURSA and companies like Wesley Mission, we can ensure that everyone receives the support they require to achieve their goals and contribute positively to the community.


Hard work & perseverance resulted in employment for Mitch.

Scott SMP Fabrication

Scott, who runs SMP Fabrication in Wauchope, was looking for a steel fabricator welder.

TURSA had been in regular contact with Scott and recommended Mitchell for a job.  Scott had some concerns as the job available was hard work and at the lower end of the pay scale.  He offered Mitch to come and try out.   Mitch showed a great work ethic and enthusiasm. As a result, Scott was impressed and decided to support Mitch with a casual position. 

This was all Mitch needed to motivate him. TURSA further supported Mitchell by providing him with clothing and some welding gear.

Scott was so impressed has been in touch with the TAFE college to enquire about enrolling Mitchell in a welding course to further develop his skills.

With his hard work and determination, Mitchell could potentially have sustained employment at SMP Fabrication. 

Scott is happy TURSA helped in finding a dedicated employee, and Mitchell is grateful for the opportunity to work in a job he enjoys.

Mitch standing in front of SMP Fabrication
“I had to make a choice and not working was no longer an option.  I was prepared to put in the hard work.”

Mitch being long term unemployed, had struggled to find job prospects due to personal and financial difficulties. He had lost his license and had to pay for car registration and other expenses.  This presented additional challenges as jobs often required transport.

To improve his chances of sustained employment, Mitch decided to take courses. He wanted to work outside and with his hands, so he kept asking TURSA to help him find a job that would suit.

Job Prospects

TURSA found the employer that was perfect for Mitch and with some persistence phones calls was able to provide him an opportunity.  SMP Fabrication had a large contract come in and this resulted in Mitch securing a trial and then the job. Now, he has a routine and is grateful for the opportunity to work with a great crew.

Mitch has achieved his initial job goal and is happy and fulfilled with what he does.

Business Award Winner Greater Port Macquarie

SMP Fabrication is a reputable metal fabrication company located in Wauchope, Australia. 

They specialize in a range of custom metal fabrication services, including designing, manufacturing, and installation of metal structures for various industries such as agriculture, mining, construction, and commercial sectors. 

With their experienced team of fabricators and advanced equipment, SMP Fabrication can handle even the most complex metal fabrication projects. 

Their services include structural steel fabrication, welding, sheet metal fabrication, machining, and surface finishing.

SMP Fabrication takes pride in their ability to provide high-quality workmanship, attention to detail, and timely completion of projects. 

They are committed to ensuring client satisfaction and maintaining a strong reputation in the industry. 

Whether it’s a one-off project or a large-scale fabrication requirement, SMP Fabrication is the go-to company for all your metal fabrication needs.  TURSA is grateful for their support and to be able to work together to deliver sustainable employment.

Port Chamber Square Winner 2021
Support for Long Term Unemployment

Long-term unemployment can be a challenging experience, often leaving individuals feeling discouraged and uncertain about their future job prospects.

However, with the support of TURSA, the opportunity to secure work is within reach. TURSA offers a range of employment and training services designed to help individuals develop the skills and confidence needed to succeed in today’s job market.

By working closely with TURSA and being willing to put in the hard work, participants can increase their chances of securing employment.

With TURSA’s assistance, individuals can access job opportunities and training programs that are tailored to their specific needs, allowing them to take the first step towards a brighter and more fulfilling future.

Contact us if you are in need of support today

Kathy Port Macquarie with advice to step into TURSA, they'll find you a job, have the right programs to match individual needs

Tursa Employment & Training in partnership with Many Rivers Regional Housing in Port Macquarie has recently helped Kathy secure employment as a finance officer. It’s a role she never expected to have, but she’s enjoying the challenge and feeling confident in her abilities. However, it wasn’t an easy journey for Kathy to get to this point. She had been unemployed since 2011, taking time off work to care for her son and then transitioning into community work for 10 years. When her husband’s health issues required her to return to the workforce, Kathy struggled to find employment in a culturally supportive environment.

Despite facing challenges, Kathy persevered and found support through Leslie Williams  who helped continue the work Kathy had started and, with TURSA. This was a major turning point for her, as she was able to work with a group that understood her cultural background and found an organisation as well that supported her efforts to revive the language and cultural practices of the Aboriginal community in the area.

Kathy credits TURSA with being instrumental in her success, providing the cultural support she needed and helping her secure a position that aligns with her skills and interests. She encourages others facing similar challenges to seek out resources and support to help them achieve their goals.

Overall, Kathy’s journey is a testament to the power of perseverance and the importance of having a supportive community. Her story serves as an inspiration to anyone struggling to find employment and highlights the critical role that organizations like TURSA play in helping individuals overcome barriers and achieve their dreams.

Taree, New South Wales offers a variety of attractions and highlights for visitors. Some of the must-see sights and experiences in Taree include:

  1. Manning River: This beautiful river winds through Taree and is perfect for fishing, boating, and other water-based activities.
  2. Wingham Brush Nature Reserve: This protected area is home to various wildlife, including kangaroos, wallabies, and bird species. Visitors can take a guided walk and learn about the local flora and fauna.
  3. Taree Art Society Gallery: This gallery showcases the work of local artists and is a great place to learn about the area’s artistic heritage.
  4. Rainbow Beach: This stunning beach is just a short drive from Taree and is a great place to relax and soak up the sun.
  5. Tinonee Heritage Museum: This museum showcases the history of Taree and the surrounding area, including Indigenous and colonial history.
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