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A Flood Gate of Opportunity

Proud Ballardong Noongar women Racheal Bennell took a leap back into the workforce this year, after spending the last 10 years raising her three boys.

When Racheal contacted the Foundation in 2020, she was paired with her mentor Karen in the ParentsNext program. This program supports parents to identify their education and employment goals and develop a pathway towards future study or work.

“I started with a negative mindset, thinking I’m a mum to three boys how can I possibly work,” said Racheal.

Karen encouraged Racheal to attend our Fit 4 Work sessions on Thursday mornings which are run from the Foundation’s main office at Mineral Resources Park. Supported by Shell, these sessions include presentations from employers and activities aimed at improving physical fitness, self-confidence, and job readiness.

“It sounded very different to what I expected, you don’t just go in and sign papers. Instead, everyone is like-minded and motivated to find employment, they also offer sports activities and lunch.”

After two weeks of settling into Fit 4 Work Racheal was ready to start putting her resume out.

“Fit 4 Work had a great vibe; everyone was encouraging me. It felt like there was a flood gate of opportunity”

Racheal’s warm personality and intrinsic skills secured her a place working in reception and administration for Woodside and Santos.

“We reached out to the Wirrpanda Foundation to get some help finding a part-time employee and they had some amazing candidates including Racheal who ended up being the perfect fit for us,” said Leanne, Racheal’s Workplace and Occupancy Manager.

“Office skills we can train on the job, but it was Racheal’s personality that shone through in the interview.”

Racheal has fitted into the team well, she is encouraged and supported by her manager and has great potential within the company.

“Being a working mum has built my confidence so much. I’m inspiring my kids and I know they are proud of me,” said Racheal.

“As Indigenous people, I think we feel like we are starting at a lower level, but we need to remember we are capable.”

After finding confidence within herself, Racheal is motivated to inspire and help others.

“I love encouraging people, sometimes we don’t see the potential in ourselves that others do.”

For the Wirrpanda Foundation, it is inspiring to see our participants become mentors for others, building each other up and creating a better, brighter future for our community.

For more information about Fit 4 Work visit the Plan 2Day 4 2morrow page.

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