Pathways to employment: Travis’s story

In August 2021, I was working and studying part time. I was studying Psychology as my background is in the field of Counselling. I enquired into volunteering opportunities with the St Vincent de Paul Society in Gorokan and was referred onto Wyong Vinnies Support Centre and the Centre Coordinator, Brad Dingle.

Soon after I began volunteering at Wyong, I identified a large caseload of People We Assist (PWAs) presenting or contacting the Wyong VSC with various support needs including Domestic & Family Violence. Brad provided continued support to me, which allowed me to identify the appropriate referral pathways for counselling the PWAs internally through Vinnies &/or external (where appropriate). I found it inspiring to see how Brad operated: he had a great rapport with the PWAs, having their best interests at heart, and provided each service with a ‘Can do’ attitude.

In December 2021, I applied for a position within Catholic Care as ‘Men & Family Counsellor’. I was lucky enough to get the position. My work now is providing Men’s Behaviour Change Program (MBCP) to men of violence to support them on their accountability & change journey, whilst working concurrently with victim survivors affected by violence, providing victims/survivors with support & referrals (as needed).

I now co- facilitate a 30-week program for men who have identified they would like to learn safe & respectful ways of relating to their family, instead of using violence or control. The program is called ‘Back on Track’ & its aim is to respectfully support men on their journey of accountability, so they can be the man they want to be.

I am grateful for the opportunity the St Vincent de Paul Society (Wyong VSC & Brad, Wyong VSCC) provided me to gain skills & opportunities in order to build further confidence & the necessary skills to apply to my future employment. To anyone considering volunteering within a Vinnies Support Centre, I would say embrace the opportunity with two hands. For me it has been rewarding both personally & professionally. I am much appreciative of the support & opportunity that was provided to me from St Vincent de Paul Society, Wyong VSC & Brad (Wyong VSCC).

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