‘She’s basically saved my life’: Jennifer and Sue connect for success

Jennifer is someone who has worked hard her whole life. 

But she feared she might be “on the scrap heap” as she looked for new employment that could cater to her age and medical needs. With a background in office administration, for many years she ran her own bookkeeping business, serving clients across Melbourne. 

“I worked like a dog, which probably didn’t help me any,” Jennifer says. 

“I was just travelling all over Melbourne at all hours of the day and night, 24 hours a day, seven days a week – as you do.” 

But a move closer to family in north-east Victoria presented her with some difficulties finding a new career path. 

There were job interviews, but she could not quite find the right fit, even being told in some cases she was over-qualified. 

Then there were the concerns about issues such as diabetes and arthritis, meaning managing her health and mobility was a priority. 

“I had never been out of work before coming up here and I found it really, really disheartening to think, oh my God, I’m on the scrap heap,” she says. 

“People would look at you think, oh, you’re too old or you’re in the too-hard basket.” 

But during 2022, it was CVGT Employment who helped Jennifer connect with someone she regards as “the best boss I’ve ever had”, someone prepared to take a chance on her. 

While attending a meeting with her CVGT Employment consultant Dimitti, Jennifer was introduced by video call to Sue McDermott – chief executive of the growing Wodonga-based homewares and linen supplier Out of the Box Party Plan

“I said, I’m not dressed for it – I’m in my gardening clothes!” Jennifer remembers with a laugh. 

“But I came around here to work, and Sue was great about [my needs] and now that’s history – here I am, and I don’t feel like going anywhere. 

It’s just the perfect fit.

CVGT Employment participant

Jennifer is a participant in our Disability Employment Services program, which supports people who have an injury, illness or disability to find sustainable, meaningful work. 

Sue was more than prepared to employ someone whose health requirements need to be met – she just needed the right person to manage her warehouse. 

“Jennifer is in charge of stock coming in, stock going out, what’s in the warehouse – she’s got an eagle eye,” Sue says. 

“She now works three days a week with me because that fits in well with her and what she needs to do. 

“I firmly believe – doesn’t matter who they are or what they’ve got – everybody needs an opportunity to prove themselves and make some money and be independent. 

“I like to give everyone a go.” 

While Jennifer quickly proved she was up to the job, the pair connected at a personal level, sharing a similar humour, language and worldview. 

“I really wanted to go for a more mature person… and we’re both the same vintage so we’ve hit it off,” Sue says. 

Jennifer appreciated Sue’s understanding approach and the chance to show her ability to contribute to the workplace. 

“It’s a pleasure to come to work every day,” Jennifer says. 

“I can feel useful, I feel like I’m contributing and that’s a big thing for me. 

“I’m very grateful that Sue took a chance on me, I really am, because it’s made so much of a difference – even to my health. 

“I’m moving around more but when I get tired, I can sit down and do some computer work, but then I can get up again a keep going. 

“She’s basically saved my life.” 

For Sue, utilising CVGT Employment’s local knowledge and expertise to find Jennifer was the continuation of a long and successful partnership. 

I would highly recommend CVGT Employment because they help in so many ways.

Employer, Out Of The Box Wodonga

“[Consultant Dimitti] has helped me with the pay structures so I know what I’m doing with all that stuff. 

“With the government support, Dimitti’s been on the ball with that and helped me there.” 

Jennifer has also thanked CVGT Employment for supporting her to get back to work. 

“I’m very grateful,” she says. 

“I’ll probably be here until I can’t move – we’ll be going out in a box together.” 

If you would like to talk to CVGT Employment about your own needs, whether it’s as a worker or a business owner, you can call 132 848 to learn more about our services. 

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