Zac’s story is a one of courage and determination through adversity – leading to success, fulfilment and independence.
Zac received a traumatic brain injury at the age of 12 when he fell out of a tree house. He spent the next year of his life learning to walk and talk again. His teenage years came with challenges; living on the streets between the ages of 15 and 17, dealing with addiction issues and spending time in prison.
Zac tried his hand at a number of jobs, including a church maintenance officer and working on a dairy farm, but nothing ever felt right. “Before Zac came to Workwise, he’d done everything he could by himself to find sustainable employment” says Amber, his Workwise employment consultant. “But due to the nature of his brain injury and lack of support he struggled to settle.”
Since Zac’s accident, he suffers from what he describes as ‘cognitive overload’. “My brain never turns off” he says. He also suffers from short-term memory loss and can struggle to get on with employers in a structured work environment.
When Zac moved in with his partner and little girl, Workwise supported him to secure a night cleaning position. Working from midnight to 5am, he soon realised the unusual hours weren’t the best for his health or personal life and he wasn’t even earning enough to support his young family.
When Zac secured a full-time position in landscaping and property maintenance, he enjoyed the variety, physical work and being outdoors. He’d discovered his passion and started to dream of having his own business. “So we worked with him to look into starting his own landscaping and property maintenance business,” says Amber.
With the support of his partner, mother and ACC, Zac took the big step of starting his own business. “It’s still in its early days, but the business is growing” says Amber. “He and his partner are now happily married too.”
Working together, talking openly and finding his dream has supported Zac to get his life to the satisfying place is today. “He’s happy in the knowledge that he’s now independent of ACC and fully supporting his new family” says Amber.