Long time Kempsey resident Leigh has been to hell and back the last few years, fighting inner demons and battling to re-join the workforce at the mature age of 60.
After a long road, and with more than a little help from APM Kempsey, the long time local conquered both his foes and found casual cleaning work with Macleay Options, and out at South Kempsey.
"It's been a few years since I've been in the workforce, but it feels great, and I'm really enjoying getting back in the saddle and working at Macleay Options," he told the Argus.
"I finally feel like I'm contributing and doing something worthwhile again.
"The cleaning job has given me a lot of new skills I can use at home as well; I clean and help my wife keep the house in good order."
When Leigh first walked into APM Kempsey, he had been battling dyslexia, mental health issues, and other health problems for years, but he believed the most significant barrier he faced would be his age.
APM worked with Leigh for six months, helping overcome his dyslexia and identifying the best way for him to get back into the workforce.
"Unfortunately, when I was growing up, learning disorders like dyslexia weren't recognised, so I never got the help I needed, it was sink or swim in a lot of ways," Leigh said.
It's been an interesting journey, but the one thing I've learnt out of all this is to stay positive and not hide who I am.Leigh
"APM has really done a lot to build my confidence back up, they got me into a Certificate III in Cleaning Operations course and helped make my first resume.
"It's been an interesting journey, but the one thing I've learnt out of all this is to stay positive and not hide who I am.
"All my friends and close associations know about my struggles, this is who I am, and I don't want to hide it."
Working casually for nearly two months now, Leigh has never been happier and has been using his days off to pursue other his other passions.
"When I'm not working, I have quite a few hobbies like to pursue, woodworking, art, I keep busy," he said.
"I'm a bit of a jack of all trades now, I've worked in so many different industries I have a lot of skills."
APM is Australia's largest provider of the Disability Employment Services program.
Last year APM teams from more than 400 locations helped 60,000 job seekers find employment.
If you're living with an injury, health condition or disability, and want to find a suitable job, contact APM today and see if you're eligible for the free program.
The disability employment service can help people with an injury, illness or disability find a job with a local employer.
Contact the Kempsey APM office by calling: (02) 6562 8600.
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