Echuca local Brandon Allen recently graduated from his Traineeship with Bite Me Deli this month, after bouncing back from unemployment and depression.
Brandon received his Certificate III in Retail at a presentation ceremony this week from local Sureway Employment & Training Manager Scott Thomson, who Brandon says helped him to change his life along with Sureway Echuca Recruitment Consultant Debbie Pickering.
Brandon began working at Bite Me Deli in late 2017 after being connected with the employer via the jobactive provider for a 6-week PaTH internship placement, which progressed to part-time employment.
While Brandon had had some work history some years prior, he says that an 8-month battle with depression turned his life upside down.
“It was a down time in my life,” Brandon said, “I just felt like there was nothing really to life at the time.”
Mr Thomson said that when he met Brandon he was disengaged, however he could see the potential in him and he and Ms Pickering were determined to set him on the right pathway.
“We focused on addressing key barriers to employment, like updating his resume and interview techniques, and getting him into driving lessons to be able to gain his licence.” Mr Thomson said.
“Brandon really put in the hard yards though in looking after his own mental health.” He said.
Brandon said that counselling, friends and family were the key to overcoming his depression battle, but that employment has also given him a purpose again.
“It’s doesn’t feel like I’m just circling, and I feel like I have a reason to get up in the morning.” He said.
Bite Me Deli owner Kate Cunningham said that Brandon quickly became a valuable member of her team.
“He’s made great progress since starting here as an intern,” she said, “I’ve been really pleased with how far he has come.”
“It goes to show that one job really can change someone’s life.” Ms Cunningham said.
Brandon, who completed his studies through Sureway Skills Training, continues to work at Bite Me Deli in Nish Street, Echuca and hopes to continue his education in Retail Management.