Video Transcript

[Vision:  Alana walking from place to place with resumes]


So I was feeling confident, like I just have to hand around a few resumes and I can find a job, but it ended up being almost the complete opposite.

[Vision:  Shanika cuddling Duveen]


I was still trying to positive, but it was getting harder.

[Vision:  Rodney sitting on porch]


Your life was on hold until you got a job.


[Vision:  Stephen serving cereal in kitchen - Stephen with family in kitchen]

When I arrived here I’m looking for a job, it was a difficult time not only for me, for the whole family.


[Vision:  Mike driving car]

Everyone’s got to work hard to get to where they want to be, but guys like me have to work a bit harder because we have a lot of challenges that we have to face.

[Vision:  WORK WITH ME - Seeking]

[Vision:  Mike as a child]

I was diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of three, which is high-functioning autism.

I did really well at school, but I always sort of found it difficult to learn things.

[Vision:  Mike speaking]

It’s not that I couldn’t learn, it’s that I needed a particular way to learn.

[Vision:  Mike walking at night]

People with Asperger’s are not stupid, we’re just mistaken for being stupid because of our different way that our brain works.

It’s kind of like looking through a cardboard cylinder where you see the world from your point of view.

You don’t really see anything else.

[Vision:  Mike on bus]

I had no idea what I wanted to do when I left school.

[Vision:  View from bus - Mike on bus thinking]

So I tried a few different things, and then I was keen on becoming an apprentice carpenter so I did a TAFE course.

[Vision:  Mike speaking]

It didn’t quite work out the way I wanted it to.

[Vision:  Mike on bus thinking]

I did pass but I found it very hard to connect with the other boys there, and I got belittled and laughed at and teased.

[Vision:  Mike speaking]

You know, I don’t know why people laugh at people with disabilities, I don’t understand you know.

[Vision:  Mike’s hands - Mike sitting in lounge]

Between 2013 to now there was just this massive gap with like nothing to do really.

Antoinette - Mike’s mother

The messaging from employers and from others isn’t just no, it turns out to be no I’m not good enough.

[Vision:  Mike sitting in dark]

When you keep getting knock back after knock back and he became quite depressed and he fell into some really poor choices.

[Vision:  Antoinette speaking - Mike sitting in lounge - Antoinette speaking]

The pain of being unsuccessful, and the pain of being said no to, he would blot out with self-destructive behaviour.

[Vision: Tree blowing in the breeze - Mike speaking - Mike sitting under tree]

I was convinced, you know, that I was going to end up in a nursing home where I’d be looked after.

[Vision:  Mike’s hands]

I used to feel that I was worthless, that I wasn’t good at anything, why was I born, what was the purpose of me being here.

[Vision:  Antoinette speaking]

Michael was heading down a very bad - I don’t know if I’d have had him around.

[Vision:  Mike sitting under tree thinking]

I got so tired of feeling detached and isolated from everyone else.

[Vision:  Mike speaking]

I was just sitting there and I just thought I’m better than this.

There’s much more to life than this.

There’s something out there for me, I know there is.


[Vision:  Outside of church - Stephen entering - Stephen in robes]

I was born in South Sudan and I came to Australia 11 years ago.

[Vision:  Stephen speaking - Stephen sitting in darkened room]

The history of Sudan is a long history.

[Vision:  Stephen’s hand]

It is a country that has been in war for many years.

[Vision:  Stephen sitting in darkened room thinking]

The year I was born, Arabs chased the civilians away from their homes.

[Vision:  Stephen speaking - tree]

My mum was pregnant and her shelter was only a big tree.

I was born under the tree.

[Vision:  Stephen speaking]

While I was 17 my mum died.

[Vision:  Map of Africa]

So I went to Ethiopia in 1989 to be refugee.

[Vision:  Stephen speaking]

It is a very big heartbeat because I was in refugee camp, nothing left back home.

[Vision:  Photograph of refugee camp - Stephen as youth leader]

Before I came to camp I was a youth leader.

[Vision:  Photograph of people in Sudan]

I decided to do the ministry as well in the camp.

[Vision:  Photograph of Stephen and family]

We applied for refugee status in Australia.

[Vision:  Stephen speaking]

It is a long, long journey.

[Vision:  Stephen in refugee camp]

Waiting in the refugee camp it took me four years.

[Vision:  Photograph of people in refugee camp]

The government said we accept your application.

[Vision:  Stephen speaking]

I know I will miss my country.

[Vision:  Photograph of refugee camp]

I will miss my culture but I put my family first because my kids will have a good life.

[Vision:  Countryside with horses - car travelling on road]

I decide to move around the country.

[Vision:  Welcome to Morwell sign]

When I came to Morwell I feel welcoming from this community.

[Vision:  Trees]

I’m looking for a job but it took me some months now I can’t find job.

[Vision:  Stephen speaking]

I have a need but I don’t know where I can get help.

[Vision:  Stephen at table]

It was difficult time.


[Vision:  Chicken on a shelf and other items - dream]

At the end of Year 12 I was just completely exhausted from the whole year.

[Vision:  Jars and pencils - Psychology books]

[Vision:  Alana speaking]

It was kind of weird shift ‘cause it went from like, working every single hour of my day for studying to complete nothingness, where no-one was telling me what to do.

[Vision:  Jars on shelf]

So I decided to try and find a job.

[Vision:  Alana with her resumes at table, packing her bag - Alana walking with resumes]

At first when I started job hunting I had that confidence to be able to go out and hand out resumes, 10-15 resumes in and getting heaps of rejections, it just became like a bit more of a real sensation of like, getting a job isn’t a walk in the park.

Andrea - Alana’s mother

People don’t understand how hard it is these days for young ones to find their way.

[Vision:  Alana at desk writing]

I applied for roughly 60 to 80 jobs for about eight to nine months, before I had my first proper opportunity come back.

[Vision:  Alana sitting and thinking]

A few weeks or months into my first job I was involved in an armed robbery where we had a gentleman enter the store, steal two knives, use one of those knives to threaten us.

[Vision:  Chicken on shelf - Alana at desk]

I had a week or two off just to, you know, have a breather.

As the months kind of rolled by I have just anxiety attacks out of nowhere.

[Vision:  Alana at chicken coop cuddling chicken]

And I remember just like being a huge mess, like, running into the chicken coop and hanging onto my chickens for dear life.

[Vision:  Close-up of chicken in Alana’s arms - Alana speaking - Alana sitting in darkened room]

I’d had mental health issues growing up a lot as a kid, but that’s when I really started going downhill, and I would have constant anxiety attacks and just never leave the house.

I was stuck in bed all day.

[Vision:  Alana in bed]

And I got really concerned about her.

[Vision:  Andrea speaking]

It was to the point where I just didn’t know how to help her.

She was just like a lost soul.


I grew up in Sri Lanka.

[Vision:  Shanika walking - Shanika speaking]

I got married when I was 22 and moved to Botswana with my husband, and I had Duveen when I was 23.

[Vision:  Photograph of Shanika holding baby Duveen - Duveen a little older]

He was a really good baby.

[Vision:  Photograph of Duveen]

I wanted to take care of him.

[Vision:  Shanika speaking]

In 2014 I got separated from my husband and moved out with Duveen.

[Vision:  Photograph of Shanika and Duveen together and at the beach - photograph of Duveen]

I wanted a change for myself and also for Duveen.

[Vision:  Shanika speaking]

When I decided to move to Australia Duveen didn’t like it.

[Vision:  Photograph of Duveen with friends]

Duveen - Shanika’s son

Everyone I knew was there, everything I knew was there but, I think after a few deep, you know, conversations she was able to convince me that it is better opportunities here.

[Vision:  Photograph of Duveen on aeroplane - Shanika speaking]

When we came to Australia I was really happy and I found really nice people.

[Vision:  Shanika with friends chatting]

Some of my friends were here, some family, so for me it was a new start and I was hopeful, it was all good.

[Vision:  Shanika speaking]

I think the struggle started when I couldn’t find work for a long time.

[Vision:  Shanika at computer]

I worked as a finance manager in Botswana so I applied for positions in that level.

[Vision:  Shanika speaking - Shanika on phone - Shanika speaking]

I wasn’t even getting a call back, so I tried to contact recruitment agents and I had a couple of interviews with them but didn’t get anything further.

[Vision:  Duveen walking - Duveen waiting at bus stop]

When we first came Duveen was - I knew he was sad and withdrawn.

[Vision:  Shanika speaking]

I tried to stay positive and not show him any negative side of what I was going through.

[Vision:  Shanika in bed]

Financially I was down to zero.

If I didn’t get the job at that time I didn’t have money to pay the rent.


[Vision:  Pastures - tractor - Rodney working]

I was probably about 13 when I left school.

I got my first paid job when I was 16.

Most of my life I have just always been a labourer.

I was working full-time in 2012 when we found out that mum had cancer.

[Vision:  Rodney speaking]

So I started caring for my elder brother Jason who has a disability.

[Vision:  Rodney walking]

It’s family so just, you don’t even think about it, it was just an automatic decision.

There was no question, there was no debate, it was just it just has to be done.

2013 we lost mum, so I kept caring for Jason for another 12 months roughly.

[Vision:  Rodney speaking

And then I spent the next two to three years looking for work.

[Vision:  Rodney sitting on porch thinking]

Prior to that you could get work relatively easy, you just move from one labour job to another but those jobs are getting harder and harder to find.

[Vision:  Rodney speaking]

It was very much like grabbing a whole heap of darts and throwing at a dartboard and hoping that one of those darts will land in a job.

[Vision:  Pastures at night]

You’re surviving, you’re not living.

[Vision:  Rodney looking over pastures]

There was no outlook, you just had to hope you got through, pay your bills, get slowly and slowly further in debt, watch everything slowly erode away from you.

I just knew I just had to keep on trying and just not let the dark close in.

[Vision:  Crops growing in field - Bulmer Farms]

I found out about the job through Facebook, there was three or four different positions.

Andrew Bulmer - Managing Director, Bulmer Farms

[Vision:  Andrew sitting at desk - Rodney entering]

Rodney was that keen and I suppose for a better word desperate for an opportunity and a job that he came in and he actually applied for all of them.

Morning.  Rodney is it?

[Vision:  Rodney being interviewed]

Meeting Andrew Bulmer was a little bit intimidating.

[Vision:  Andrew interviewing Rodney]

I remember shaking his hand it was like a wet fish, he was perspiring that much, he was so nervous.

[Vision:  Rodney drinking water]

You could tell that if he didn’t get this opportunity that it was going to weigh heavily on him.

I had the feeling that they were interested in somebody maybe a bit younger.

I just knew I’d just gotta keep pushing forward because eventually life will change.

[Vision:  Next Episode]

[Vision:  Alana being interviewed]

It was actually nice to sit down and as someone am I doing this right?

[Vision:  Alana speaking]

And, kinda get that reassurance that like it’s not just me that’s the problem.

[Vision:  Stephen shaking hands - Stephen speaking]

The first time we talk I know this guy is, he’s a good man.

[Vision:  Rodney walking - Rodney speaking - Rodney sleeping in car]

Pride got the better of me and I thought well I can’t ask again, so I decided to sleep in the car while I was waiting for a house to become available.

[Vision:  Shanika looking at building]

I was very nervous.

[Vision:  Shanika speaking]

Even I thought I knew I can do the job.

[Vision:  Mike getting ready for interview]

I felt fantastic.

I felt like a bloody ripper.

[Vision:  Mike looking at himself in the mirror - Mike speaking]

I felt like for the first time in my life people are going to take me seriously.


[If you are seeking employment or looking for staff we are here to work with you -]

[The producers would like to thank the participants and their families for sharing their stories.]

[Thanks to the employers: Adecco Australia; Bulmer Farms; Moe Life Skills; PT Hydraulics Australia; Williamson’s FoodWorks]

[Thanks to our Jobs Victoria Partners:  Workways Australia; Orygen Youth Health and Headspace; East Gippsland Food Cluster; Australian Multicultural Community Services; Wear for Success]

[For 24/hr crisis support and suicide prevention:  Lifeline 13 11 14]


[VICTORIA State Government]

[Speaker:  Authorised by Victorian Government, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne]

Go back to Work With Me Episode 1: Seeking