Success stories - Workwise

Success stories

Everyone has skills, talents and potential.

Every day, we work alongside people with experience of mental health issues who find and keep good work and who enjoy all the benefits that come from working – financial and personal independence, connection, having fun and having a purpose.

The following stories were written by Workwise employment consultants. These are stories of people’s successes. Stories like this inspire and motivate us every day.

Names in the following stories have been changed for purpose of publication.

Click on the titles below to read the stories.

A push in the right direction

Talia was only one step away from completing her degree but felt embarrassed about the length of time she had been out of work.

Achieving new goals

Afa secured employment despite living with schizophrenia and a complex criminal record.

Getting a foot in the door

Sarah overcame high anxiety and low self-confidence and secured employment at a Community Law Centre.


Steve, like his uncle, was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Steve’s uncle spent his life in institutions – so at first both Steve and his parents thought this would be his future too. But Steve’s future was bright.

A positive view

Despite being diagnosed with schizophrenia, David had enjoyed extended periods of paid employment. So when he found himself unemployed for a period of time his confidence suffered. David came to Workwise for support.


John is a friendly, loyal and committed employee. Prior to his referral to Workwise, he had been employed for 18 months at a local supermarket. He’d even been acknowledged by the Keep Rotorua Beautiful Awards for his outstanding work at keeping the supermarket surrounds clean and tidy.


From a life of multiple addictions to a life of confidence and purpose in less than three years – Sue’s journey is an inspiring example of the power of taking personal responsibility for change.


Josh today is a confident young man with a wonderful relationship, a career path all mapped out and excellent work experience in a field he is passionate about. He’s a very different young man from the Josh who first visited Workwise.

Maintaining relationships

“It’s not just about asking employers for vacancies,” says Nik, Workwise Rotorua team leader. “It’s also about where we can add value for them by meeting their needs and aiming for a win-win.”


When Liana arrived for her first meeting with Workwise it was clear she was ready to find employment. In fact, she already had an interview to prepare for.


Zac’s story is one of courage and determination through adversity – leading to success, fulfilment and independence.


Securing a full-time job as a storeman has seen Paul’s confidence grow and his life turn around. Achieving this success took a strong desire to return to work, lots of persistence and the willingness to make some life changing decisions.


When Angela first came to Workwise in 2007, she was quite a different person. She had difficulty making or maintaining eye-contact and insisted on bringing a support person to do most of her talking…but soon she began to step outside her comfort zone and things began to change.


When Maria first met Isabella she noticed a frail, young woman slowly making her way down the ward. She stopped in front of Maria and in a clear, confident voice introduced herself.

Three years later we catch up on Isabella’s story. Read it here.


Regular customers began to notice the changes that were happening in Nelly’s appearance, now she was an inspiration to them. Again her hours were increased – this time to full-time. Finally she was able to cancel her benefit assistance and move into a flat which represented the achievement of independence.


Karl shares his key to success ‘to set goals for yourself and never give up hope’. Karl lives his message daily driven by his motivation to be a good role model for his son.


Cate tells her story of how she’s managed to turn her life around with the support of Workwise.


Gladys was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder 23 years ago. Today she has a new found confidence and can’t believe she’s found a job so ideally suited to her.


Andrea has been through some difficult times in her life. She used drugs, got into trouble with the police and attempted suicide. She made a conscious decision to change her life for the better. She was not confident about how to do this, but knew she needed to get back into part-time work.


Tom was diagnosed with depression 20 years ago making everyday life a battle. His health was further compromised by a dependence on drugs and alcohol. Over time with the help of his famly and support professionals he got back on his feet again. However for Tom his recoverey journey could not be complete until he achieved his goal of full time employment.


After seven years of trying to find work in his chosen field, Ali’s confidence and self-esteem were at an all time low but he was determined not to give up.

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