• Clyde

Going back to work

Updated: Apr 12, 2019

Clyde Hawkins, managing director of Fitweld Engineering is one of the many local industry and community leaders lending their voice to the Beyond Ice campaign. 'At the end of the day people need jobs and local businesses need workers.'

Clyde also looks at it from a personal point of view:

“Lesley and I have grandchildren now, so I guess you could say we’re very conscious of drugs in the community. However, when it comes to interviewing people for work, I’m always careful about the way I ask about that person’s past.

We’re mindful of the possibility of discrimination, but we’re also conscious of the role local businesses can play in employing people to help get them back on track. People are usually really grateful for the opportunity to work. Over the years we’ve given a few people a second chance, and they’ve been outstanding employees.

It pays to be honest about your past if you have been involved in substance abuse. Often the right skills and a willingness to work will weigh more heavily than your past, especially if you are keen to get back into the workforce. You can brush up on those skills at The Centre for Continuing Education in Wangaratta. Their CEO, Felicity Williams says:

“Your skills can get rusty, if you’ve been out of the workforce for a while, and that’s where our programs can help. Our work-ready programs, including our new Getting There and Reconnect initiatives, will help you develop core work skills required in today’s workplaces – such as team work, computers in the workplace, problem solving”

The Centre also offers confidence coaching for interviews and ways to tackle the hidden job market. They train using real life examples and paperwork. They even offer coaching about how to have what might be a difficult conversation about their past with a prospective employer. They emphasise that honesty is the best policy.

Linda Griffiths-Brown from Total HRM agrees. She helps small and large employers across the region find the right employees. Linda also reiterates that you be honest about your past and don't be afraid, even if the employer says that they will need a police check. She says that while some jobs will be closed to past offenders, the fact that someone has a history of drug use issues or even a police record doesn't rule them out of the workforce.

How big a challenge is problematic drug use in your business? If something happened, how would you respond? Do you have the appropriate drug and alcohol policies in place?

Join us at our Wangaratta business breakfast on 16 April. RSVP here.

This story appeared in the Wangaratta Chronicle - we thank them for supporting our initiative.

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Since 2015 the Wangaratta Local Drug Action Team has been working with its community to improve awareness of the facts and issues surrounding drug use.

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