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Zhang and Carl cook up a storm

Carl is embarking on a new career path as a disability support professional—as part of a joint initiative between Possability, the Victorian government and RMIT University.

After 30 years as a high-end tourism operator and guide, Carl lost his business when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Deciding to try a new career earlier this year, Carl started training as a disability support professional. Carl is one of a group of new recruits who have taken up roles with Possability as part of a new program by the Victorian Government. The program is a partnership between the state government, RMIT, National Disability Services and disability service organisations. Delivered by Jobs Victoria, the initiative is creating 600 new jobs for people looking for work or a career change to complete 12-month traineeships while working. Trainees gain their Certificate III or IV, personalised mentoring, industry engagement, project management and evaluation.

Possability is the first employer to join the program, Drew Beswick, Possability CEO, said “The ‘earn and learn’ model is a great opportunity for people who’ve been impacted by the pandemic and are looking to change careers into a vibrant and growing sector. It offers people more than a stable job, what we do makes a real difference—supporting people with disability to build their independence and live the lives they choose.”

Carl works with Zhang. Before emigrating from Shanghai to Australia, Zhang was a feature film producer and actor in both TV shows and movies. When he arrived, he took up the tongs and became a chef, cultivating a great love of food. Zhang chose to work with Possability after acquiring a brain injury in 2020 and was in the habit of ordering takeaway, until Carl came along. Carl speaks Zhang’s first language, Mandarin, and together they cook the foods he prefers.

The new program benefits both job seekers and the sector. Minister for Employment, Jaala Pulford, said, “This scheme will create hundreds of jobs for Victorians and provide much needed carers and support workers for people living with a disability.”

Further information about the program can be found at Jobs Victoria here.