Ali arrived for his first meeting at Workwise carrying a thick folder. It seemed too big to be his CV but Stuart his employment consultant assumed that it was certificates or referees he’d accumulated over the years.

As they talked, Ali explained that he had migrated with his wife and two daughters (aged 4 and 6) to New Zealand from his country of birth, Bangladesh. While he had spent time working as a general practitioner in his home country, after completing a Post Graduate Diploma in Health Sciences in New Zealand he had set himself the goal of gaining employment as an environmental health officer.

Over the last seven years Ali had applied for roles as an environmental health officer all over New Zealand – from Whangarei to Southland District Council. It was at this point that Ali pulled out his folder and showed Stuart not only his CV, but also the stack of unsuccessful application letters that he’d accumulated over the years. He had a collection of over 100 letters dating back to 2001; and had not managed to secure an interview for any of these positions since 2002.

Ali’s confidence and self-esteem were at an all-time low. He explained that he had been diagnosed with depression in 2003 which he believed was due in part to his unsuccessful attempts to find work in his chosen field. Despite this Ali was determined not to give up.

Ali and Stuart spent some time picking apart his application process from his cover letter and CV right through to the question and answer process at interviews. Together they set short-term goals and one quite obvious long-term employment goal – to gain full time employment as an environmental health officer.

Ali admitted that over the years there had been many times he felt frustrated because he couldn’t find work or get an interview but he had made a conscious decision to forget about all the unsuccessful job applications and to instead focus on the strengths and skills that he did have.

With each meeting with Stuart, Ali’s confidence and self belief grew. With everything that he had been through, Ali knew that determination, perseverance and a positive attitude were going to be key to achieving his goal. Ali worked hard to do everything Stuart asked of him and the effects began to show.

Within a month, Ali rang Stuart to say that he had an interview for an environmental health office role with Masterton District Council. Both Ali and Stuart were excited but knew there was still a lot of work to do. Not only did they need to prepare for the interview, but since his arrival in New Zealand, Ali had never travelled out of Auckland. Together they worked to organise travel, accommodation and to prepare for the interview.

The day after his return from Masterton Ali rang Stuart. He felt the interview had gone smoothly and although he was nervous, he believed he had done well. Several of the questions he had worked on with Stuart had come up during the interview, but this time he was prepared. For the first time in many years he felt confident.

The next day, Ali rang Stuart to tell him he’d got the job! To say that he was happy is an understatement, he was close to tears. Ali had worked hard for so many years to achieve his goal and he and his family had been through some incredibly hard times. With Ali’s hard work and determination and the support of his Workwise Employment Consultant he’d finally achieved his goal!

Ali is still working full-time as an environmental health officer with Masterton District Council and his family are thriving in their new home. His self belief continues to grow and is having a positive impact not only on his own life but on his family as well. Ali is now setting new goals and hopes to eventually work as a general practitioner in New Zealand – with Ali’s determination we’re sure he’ll achieve it!

For Stuart, Ali has been an inspiration, a real example of what motivation and determination can achieve. Stuart says “Now, whenever I have doubts about whether or not I can do something or I am talking to someone who is in need of some motivation, I use Ali as an example. You can achieve anything you want in life if you just have the determination, self-belief and will to succeed.”