The journey to employment for Reece Yarran was not always an easy one. Having not worked consistently for over 10 years, the 29-year-old knew he had to make a change.
Reece made the decision to turn his life around, and with the support of the Wirrpanda Foundation’s Plan 2day 4 2morrow program found employment. Having originally came to the Foundation back in 2010, he was a participant in what was then the Solid Futures program, but didn’t complete the program and continue on to employment at that stage.
Over the years Reece has faced many challenges, from a battle with substance abuse and incarceration, but has worked hard to overcome his struggles and is proud of the changes he has made to better himself.
“I used to be a criminal, institutionalised. I was in an out of prison for a while because no one gave me that chance,” he said.
“I’ve always asked ‘Look, get me a job and I’ll get myself together.’ But nobody gave me that chance like Wirrpanda, you guys helped me get a job, now I’ve actually got it, I’m doing good and I’m showing people that anybody can change,
“Look at me now, I’m getting married, I’ve changed.”
Reece attributes the Foundation’s culturally appropriate mentoring as something that made a big difference in his search for employment.
“Before I came to you guys I was getting nowhere, not for an Indigenous person, no ways.
“That’s when I came to Wirrpanda, you associate better, you get what we mean. Because we can’t talk to our other employers like that, you know, they don’t get it, and Wirrpanda they do get it,
“They ask you where you would like to work, where you live, where you come from and if you do have any problems with family feuding/personal life and it’s good that you ask personal questions.
“You guys hooked me up with this job and I was the happiest man alive,” Reece said.
The physical nature of his new role wasn’t initially easy for Reece, but has taught him a lot about being in a work environment and allowed him to build up his employability skills.
“It took a toll on me but you got to have a strong mind and don’t stress yourself out, take it one day at a time,
“You have to have respect not just for yourself but for others, be on time - always be on time, that’s the important thing. I usually rock up 20 minutes before work starts. Just to have my cup of coffee, my little break and then I’m ready.”
Reece has some advice for other young people who might have found themselves in a similar situation to what he did.
“I stopped worrying about drugs I used to do. That stuffs not going to get you nowhere. You’ve actually got to sit down and realise, stop acting like a kid, grow up, you can’t do that forever and you can’t live forever.
“Be a leader not a follower. I used to be a follower but now I’m a leader because I’m actually doing something.”
Since sitting down with Reece he has got married and is expecting a baby with his partner. He also completed the project he was working on with Ballpoint construction, and is continuing temporary work whilst he looks for his next opportunity.
Our P242 Program is kindly supported by Shell Australia