Gladys was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 23 years ago. Life had been a constant struggle as she tried to manage her condition and cope with everyday life. Two years ago it took a huge toll when her frequent absences from work meant she had to give up her job.

“In May 2008, Gladys came to Workwise,” says Mary her Workwise employment consultant. “She was ready to get out of the house again and earn some money. However her confidence in her ability to cope with a job, manage her work life balance and find an opportunity that not only suited her abilities but the hours she wanted to do seemed an impossible challenge.”

Gladys’ first steps with Workwise were to attend career focus groups to help discover what sort of work she really wanted to pursue. “Gladys has a passion for art and wanted to find a role that used her creative abilities,” says Mary.

Mary identified an opportunity at a local rest home as an activities coordinator which she thought would be perfect for Gladys. Gladys was nervous at the prospect of an interview. With Mary’s help she worked on building her confidence and preparing for the interview, even bringing along some of her own artwork to share.

Gladys’ employment consultant attended the interview with her and Gladys was offered a three day work trial. At the end of the three day period, her employer was so impressed she offered her a permanent job.

Winning the job brought further tests for Gladys as she learned to manage her transport to and from work. Again Mary stepped in to support her until she had built up the confidence to manage on her own.

Today Gladys is completely independent, walking to and from work on her own, managing her own activities and masterminding her own creative art sessions along with other activities for residents at the rest home.

Gladys’ role has given her a new found confidence. She’s discovered she has so many skills that she can use and the hours are perfect for her. She’s enjoying the role immensely and her employers are full of praise for her which has further boosted her confidence.

“Gladys can’t believe she’s found a role so ideally suited to her, one where she can follow her dream of helping others express themselves through art,” says Mary. “It’s been a real pleasure being part of her employment journey – seeing her grow in confidence, follow her dream and take charge of her own destiny.”