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Client Success Stories

My Journey from A-B -TODAY


Shane - DVJS Pakenham client

Written by Shane.


Started with joining DVJS Employment Services and was placed in Mel Bray’s hands.

Had not worked for 3 1/2-4 years due to a prolapsed disc problem as no employer wants to take a chance with someone with an ongoing back injury.

Looking back 12 months ago was heading down a dark path with no opportunity to get a job, having medication daily for back pain.  Then a family tragedy was almost the icing on the cake, got to a stage where there was no going forward and lost all care for myself until….Mel came to what I call “My Rescue”.  Finally feeling confident enough to open-up to Mel and admit to what and where I was at (best day of my life)

Without much fuss was I suddenly seeing a counsellor for the depression and anxiety that had set in, which helped somewhat.  But finally, when Mel had convinced me to talk to my doctor and tell him what was really going on and be truthful.  Mel even offered me that she would attend the appointment with the doctor, as I was still in a place where getting back seemed too hard.

Week by week Mel had given me enough confidence to finally admit to myself things had to change.  So, my journey began….

First, getting a resume in order and getting on my bike to start handing them out to any workplace I came across.  Then that black cloud that had followed me for so long was getting left behind slowly.

Mel had pencilled me in for a job she had in mind.  And first week of Dec 2019 was taken down to Cardinia Engineering to meet the then small staff group.

Suddenly I had someone who was willing to give me a chance of a job.  I started out in a cleaner position, so I put my head and heart into doing the best work I could.  Three weeks work before Xmas doing 5 hours a day Mon-Thurs.  This was so good to ease my back problem into work.  I had dropped all medication and set about doing the best I could at cleaning the areas of the factory I was shown.

Three weeks into working at making the factory clean as I could then I find myself being invited to Xmas break up lunch and next thing I was asked to come back early Jan.  From that day I have never looked back, and my life has gone from better to unbelievable.  Better every day.

In the past 10 months of working, I have a new role in the company with a pay rise ,got myself a car, and for the first time in 10 years, my own place and great workmates that I cannot thank enough for getting me to this point in time of my life. 

Hard to believe that 12 months ago was in a place where nobody wants to go.  But my blessing was (DVJS) especially Mel who without her commitment to “fixing me”, I do not want to think of anymore.

Now you cannot take away this smile I have every day I get up to go to work.

I cannot not thank DVJS enough (MEL BRAY) and COLIN COPPINS (Cardinia Engineering group) for steering this lost soul down the right road to recovery.  I have enormous respect for what these two people did to get me here and, in a position, to be able to tell myself “IM PROUD OF MYSELF FINALLY”.

Picture shows Shane with contributions form staff at Cardinia Engineering Group to help set up his new home.


Miss J Brevilles

Shining in her new role.

Miss J - DVJS Cranbourne client


By: Lucy Watts - Administration Support Officer


Miss J is a young and vibrant DVJS client who has recently become employed at Bevilles Jewellers. Miss J did incredibly well in her interview and was soon after offered the role.

Miss J worked closely with the DVJS team at Cranbourne to develop her confidence and skills. Laurianne found her the perfect employment opportunity at Bevilles and her case manager, Melissa, assisted her in preparing for her interview. With this job opportunity, Miss J has been able to come out of her shell and let her personality and skills shine through.

Bevilles performed an induction and training with Miss J. Bevilles are very impressed with her work and she is settling in well to the team. DVJS will be supporting Miss J every fortnight to help her to continue to grow as an employee.


William S


A Fresh Start.

William - DVJS Oakleigh client


By: Alison Weir Post Placement Support Consultant Oakleigh


When William came on program in July 2018, he had not worked for 20 years. He left school before completing year 9 and worked in a variety of jobs including: labouring work, assembly work in factories, sales work, car detailing and kitchenhand. While he enjoyed assembly work, he was happy to consider most work options.

In September we found a cleaning role at Broadway Window Cleaning that seemed a good fit for William. He was happy to give the job a go and is still enjoying the company and the work today!

By November, William told us “work is going great”. He found that he could complete his tasks on time and had no issues with any of the work, he was also very happy with DVJS support. William’s manager agreed and was happy to help William if he had any questions or needed any assistance. He was particularly happy with the thoroughness with which William completed his tasks, his punctuality and his polite and respectful attitude.

Today, William continues to do a good job of cleaning the office. He completes his tasks on time, follows the routine with no issues and is still comfortable with his role. In fact, he is looking for more tasks to keep himself busy and has recently taken on cleaning the micro blinds and letting people know when cleaning products are low.

We count this as a double success as while William is very quiet, he gains important social connections while enjoying his work.

Perseverance has it's reward's

Zachary - DVJS Glen Waverley client


By: Kerri Donnellan Glen Waverley Manager

Zac has been with DVJS since 2013. Zac suffered trauma at birth and sustained an Acquired Brain Injury affecting his vision and short-term memory. This has made finding and maintaining employment difficult for Zac as he finds it hard to learn new tasks and remember processes.

Zac has struggled to maintain employment in the past so reaching 12 months with Link Health and Community Limited has been quite something to celebrate.  Well done Zac!

Zac relies on public transport to get to work but the two buses and a train do not deter him from getting to work on time or early two days a week.

Zac is always keen to be working and jumped at the chance to take on more responsibility. Zac has made an impression on all the employees at Link who love to support and encourage his effort and the great job he is doing as well as occasionally bringing him donuts!  

As part of being offered another 12-month contract, he has also been given the opportunity to grow and learn more tasks. Zac now undertakes gardening where he pulls out the weeds that are forever popping up in the garden, sweeping of the carpark and making up files for promotion of the work that they do for children with a disability.

Zac has found it challenging to grasp these new tasks but with perseverance and support from DVJS he has been able to conquer them and take on the additional responsibility of cleaning the vast number of windows at Link’s offices. 

Zac has a bubbly personality and is always quick with a joke, making him a fun and valued member of the team.

Zach Oakleigh




Happy to be Employed again

Kevin - DVJS Oakleigh client


By: Alison Weir - Post Placement Support Consultant


Kevin transferred to DVJS in 2019. He recently moved to Newstart allowance after caring for his mother for almost a decade. He has worked intermittently; however low literacy and numeracy levels have kept him in short-term factory work. He was last employed in a factory for two months in 2018 and had to stop because of an eye condition. 

He expressed eagerness to find work, especially in a factory where tasks are not too complicated, and he has some flexibility in his work hours.

Prior to caring for his mother, he worked as a labourer/container unloader and a machine operator.

Fortunately, in May, we assisted Kevin to gain employment at McCann Optical parts in Carrum Downs.

Kevin uses public transport, but he always arrives on time and dresses appropriately for work.

Kevin does a range of general factory hand tasks – such as packing optical parts and labelling spray bottles - and enjoys his work. He is delighted to find suitable employment and we are pleased to see him happy again.



Overcoming fears, working together as a team.

Catherine M- DVJS Narre Warren client


By: Cassie Miller - Employment Consultant Narre Warren

Catherine has been a Narre Client for a short time and presented with Anxiety and Depression. In her last workplace, Catherine experienced an exacerbation of her conditions as she was exposed to a toxic environment which had almost put her off wanting to look and gain employment for some time.

Ensuring that we avoided past experiences, I worked closely with Catherine to help with her anxiety and build a solid rapport to find out what her capabilities were, along with the type of work and employer she was looking for with her. During our appointments, we both sat down to look at employment options together. Catherine really embraced the time and we worked well as a team to establish what Catherine was looking for in preparation to approach employers.

DVJS Employment Consultant Mark McCathrion sought to further expand his list of employers and went to a company located in our building to introduce himself. As it turned out that the business was looking for someone to join their team on a Part Time basis. Exploring the needs of the company, and identifying the supportive nature, Mark recommended that they interview Catherine for the role.

Working closely with Catherine in building her confidence and providing feedback on tips for the interview, Catherine felt at ease and was confident to attend the interview and conduct a work trial.

The employer made Catherine feel comfortable and could see that she had so much to ability to offer. Shortly after the interview, Catherine so excited when she found out that she had done so well in the interview and was offered a job.

Despite some hiccups at the start, we are all very proud of Catherine who overcome her fears and took on board the advice provided by myself and the team at DVJS.


Michael Savva

DVJS There At Every Step of The Way

Michael S - Client DVJS Moorabbin

By: Michael DVJS Client

I came to DVJS with only work experience work history, I had never been to a Disability Employment Service before and did not know what to expect. The service was explained to me and I was happy to be a part of this journey.

I worked with my Case Manager to find out my strengths and my abilities. They helped me create a resume and gave me more and more confidence at each appointment.

Presented with the opportunity for a paid internship at Holmesglen TAFE as a Stores person, I was soon to complete the application with excitement. I had been given interview training in which I went through pre interview questions with my Case Manager and discussed appropriate clothing to wear.

My Case Manager attended the interview with me to make me feel more at ease, it went well, and I was offered a Full-Time position. Super excited!

DVJS Post Placement Officer and my Case Manger keep in contact with me to monitor how I am going at work checking on how I am interacting with others. I feel supported and I am enjoying learning new skills and meeting new people.

"Thank you so much to everyone at DVJS Employment Solutions for their wonderful guidance and support"

Thank You


Dreams Do Come True

Alex - Client DVJS Moorabbin


By: Alex - DVJS Client

For quite some time, I had a dream of becoming a Train Driver. I had applied on a previous occasion a couple of years ago but didn’t even get passed the first stage! I was very excited when I saw an advertisement for Trainee Train Drivers, as they don’t recruit very often.  I was excited to share the opportunity with my Case Manager to see if she could help get me over the line this time.

Right from the start she was knowledgeable and helpful with my resume and cover letter. She was thrilled when I told her I had gone on to the next stage of an interview, which I don’t think would have ever occurred without her input. 

To ensure the interview went well, she suggested I came to my next appointment dressed in interview clothes and conducted a mock interview., I couldn’t believe that the questions she had asked were so similar to the actual interview, so it really helped prepare me.

We were both so excited when I found out I was going to the next stage of hand/eye simulated test. Once again, she was able to assist by finding one for me to practice online. The test itself was very challenging, and I was in disbelief when I found out I got through and just needed to complete the medical.

The whole process took a few months, and as much as there was the highs, there were also times I was unsure of how I was tracking, but she was always encouraging and supportive, telling me how well I had done whatever the outcome was.

So, it finally happened, I passed the medical and had gone through the whole process and they called and offered me the job!!! I didn’t tell anyone, not even my case manager until I received the contract in writing.

I’ve now commenced and am absolutely loving it! There’s still plenty of hard work ahead but I’m forever grateful to my Case Manager, and the DVJS team as I really don’t believe my dream would have come through without their help!

A note from Alex’s Case Manager

Whilst we had the expertise to assist Alex through the process, it was Alex who put in the work, got out of her comfort zone, and went through a gruelling and rigorous process to get achieve her dream job!

I never doubted she could do it, but the thing I was most pleased about as her case manager, was when the employer became aware of her condition through her medical, she just needed to provide evidence from  her medical practitioner that she was clear to do the job,  and they were still prepared to offer Alex the responsible role as Trainee Train Driver .

It gives me hope that the landscape is starting to change with employers, and they can go beyond seeing the disability, and she was capable of doing the job. If this large corporate entity can embrace diversity and inclusion, it gives me great hope that one day this will become ‘the new norm’!

Alex On Track

William Cleaning Up

Pride In His Work

WILLIAM - Client DVJS Oakleigh


By: Cameron Mcleod - Employment Consultant Oakleigh

Having started as a job seeker with DVJS in June 2018, William was keen and ready to work.

With his previous experience at Labouring and factory work, and his love for cars which saw him repairing carburettors, William decided that a cleaning position would be his next challenge.

William soon started cleaning a small office in Moorabbin, with duties such as Vacuuming, window cleaning, and general tidying up. It wasn’t long before the word spread, and William was asked to help out at another location as well as Moorabbin.

Since September last year William is now the office cleaner at the two locations with great success.

Along with his cleaning duties, William also restocks office and amenity consumables, as well as document shredding and rubbish removal.

In his spare time, William is an avid table tennis player, a Hawks fan, and swings the golf clubs when he is able.

All smiles at Lollipops Playland - Carrum Downs

Jennifer - Client DVJS Cranbourne


By: Laurianne Florigny -Operations Manager Cranbourne

Upon completing a Cert 3 in Early Childhood Education and Care, Jennifer returned to DVJS – Cranbourne, seeking assistance to find sustainable employment.

With DVJS assistance and guidance, Jennifer’s resume was updated. DVJS approached Lollipops Playland in Carrum Downs where Jennifer’s resume was presented.

After an initial interview, Jennifer undertook a work trial at Lollipops Playland Carrum Downs as a Customer Service Assistant.

After a successful work trial, Jennifer was offered employment as she demonstrated she had the skills and ability to learn.

Jennifer is a hard-working Mother, who loves being around children, and has proven to be a great fit for the business.

Jennifer’s enthusiasm & bubbly personality resulted in a perfect job match – meaning the Employer and the Employee are Happy & Proud.

Jennifer is very grateful for the support and guidance from DVJS staff at Cranbourne.

Jennifer has proven to be a great asset to Lollipops Playland.

Jennifer Lollipops

Gary pursuing his love of photography. 


Rory excited about the opportunities the future will bring. 

Creating New Career Paths

DVJS Oakleigh Clients 
BY: Kim Bannard - Adminstration Officer Glen Wavereley & Oakleigh

The DVJS Oakleigh office is focused on helping job seekers to develop new skills and forge ahead in different careers. Watching our clients grow in confidence and succeed in the workforce is at the heart of why we strive to support job seekers in both obtaining suitable work and identifying the career of their dreams.

Here are just a few examples:

Samantha joined DVJS with an inspirational story of love, dedication and the desire to help others. Samantha lived with her husband of over 25 years in Bendigo. When he became ill, she nursed him until his death. Samantha has previously focused on raising her family and has not worked before, but through nursing her husband, she decided that she would like to help take care of others. With help from the Oakleigh office, Samantha identified the right course for her and has now started her Certificate Ill in Individual Support at Holmesglen TAFE. She is looking forward to achieving her qualification so she can make a difference to others.

Gary has been a job seeker with DVJS for two years. In this time, he has successfully held two jobs and built his confidence. A keen and creative photographer, he decided to work closely with his Employment Consultant to develop new skills and follow his dream to create architectural designs. Gary was accepted into the Advanced Diploma of Building Design at Holmesglen TAFE and is eager to see where this new skillset will take him in the future.

Issac has been with DVJS for 4 years, during this time he secured two roles; unfortunately, both ended due to a downturn in business. Issac, being determined to pursue other work options, decided to embark on a career in Logistics. He has been studying Certificate Ill in Logistics for two months now and is really enjoying it.

Rory joined DVJS in 2016. He worked for a short time in a factory assembling air conditioning parts. After exploring different career paths with his Employment Consultant Rory decided that an outdoor job - landscaping, trimming and removing trees, operating machinery - appealed to him more than factory work. Rory started a course in Rural Operations in September 2019. He has learnt a lot and is looking forward to gaining a qualification that will help find him work in a field he enjoys.




Alan is a prime example of what’s possible when you give someone a chance – and why ongoing support for our clients is core to DVJS.

From the moment we met him, Alan was a genuinely nice young man, well spoken, empathic and passionate that everyone in society gets a fair go – but his Asperger’s Syndrome made it so many people never saw beyond his barriers. Alan even believes that some of those people focused on what he couldn’t do, were the very same ones he’d come to for help.

Alan credits DVJS as the first job agency that actually felt like they cared.

Alan was pretty nervous about his job interview, but Chantel McCrae , HR Manager for Colonial First State, was just blown away by how genuinely authentic Alan is.

In his new role Alan feels inspired, he’s making the long trip to work every day in his nice vest and learning, growing and he has a smile on his face going to work.
How many of us can say that?


Stuart was looking for a little help keeping the amazing equipment at Dingley Village Adventure Golf in top condition, so we introduced Stuart to DVJS client Phillipe and together we’ve all hit an ace.

Stuart feels Phillipe has not only become a valuable asset to the team, but someone the entire team can count on no matter the task - even when Bertha the Water Wheel plays up.
So you can be sure staff like Phillipe will be working hard so your friends and family have a great time whenever you visit.


Michael graduated with an IT degree 3 years ago having a distinction average. He is a very intelligent, genuine young man. It has taken him up until recently to commence employment in his chosen career field. By co-incidence he also obtained his driver’s licence. A great achievement for someone never prepared to give up despite so many disappointments.

Michael regularly obtained job interviews but his biggest barrier was to convince prospective employers that he was the right person for the job. DVJS assisted Michael with interview preparation including mock interviews, developed his resume to a professional standard, drafted cover letters and had an open dialogue with his referees.

While it was deflating for Michael to receive so many “no’s” he was constantly reminded that he only needed one “YES”! He now feels “on top of the world and can “hold his head up high” in social situations. He is a perfect example of determination and not giving up. Well done!


When Sharon Smart, the Manager at the Vermont South Community House saw her local community needed help, she decided to do something about it. Sharon had long supported employing people with barriers but in May 2015 she took that support to the next level by transforming one of the rooms at the Vermont South Community House into a social enterprise cafe known as The Cafe House.

The Cafe House has done wonders, providing much needed opportunities for people to enter hospitality while learning and growing in a supportive environment.

Thierry is a professional Chef with years of experience in Europe and someone who makes wonderful cakes and pastries. Thierry was working in commercial kitchens but the fast paced nature of this work was making it difficult for his health. Now at The Cafe House, Thierry has the opportunity to produce his divine cakes and savoury dishes at a pace that he can sustain and not impact his health. Thierry is one of many DVJS clients that have benefited from the support Sharon and the Vermont South Community House staff provide. Thank you from all of us at DVJS!


Steven is a young man of 24 who has had to endure some tough personal problems to get through to where he is right now. He currently lives with his sister and still deeply misses his mum whom he lost only a few short years ago. Steven was pretty close to his mum and she used to join him in many appointments before she got very ill. When Steven’s mum passed away, he was understandably distraught and decided to take a “leave of absence” from job search in order to grieve.

Steven has autism, but much more striking is how keen he is to work and the way natural friendly leads him to befriending the people he meets almost immediately. The young man is a thoughtful person whose outlook of work is that of pride. When he did secure that job at Wholesale Plants Direct as a nursery hand, he was proud and eager to tell his family that he finally secured work and can be of help to them!
He however postponed telling his family the good news for a week just to make sure it was real and it was ongoing. Getting to work and contribute in a way he was proud of was just too good to be true!

When his employer Nigel Read met Steven, he was astounded with the amount of enthusiasm he has for work. In fact Steven tried to do all the hours of his work trial without a break under a 30+ degree heat! Nigel stepped in to make sure Steven didn’t let his enthusiasm get in the way of his well-being, but seeing his work ethic in action there was no doubt in Nigel’s mind that they would hire Steven.

From simply watering the plants to basic weeding, Steven has picked up more than a few skills along the way. This includes potting plants and moving them from the sun to the shade or vice-versa. Steven wants to learn more and Nigel is very keen to teach him.


Ian has completed 3 months employment at Bread Street Bakery, Mont Albert assisting with food preparation and cleaning. This is a great reward for Ian’s persistence to enter open employment at 29 years of age. We also would like to acknowledge the commitment of his employer, David Winter to give not only Ian an opportunity to commence open employment but also David has employed a young man with Down Syndrome for 6 years.

Last year Ian completed a dual Certificate 11 in Hospitality and Food Processing for 6 months at the Vermont South Community Centre. Prior to his course he undertook voluntary work at the Salvation Army Café in Box Hill.

Ian is always reliable, punctual, willing to learn and he greets you with a cheerful smile! This start has been great for not only Ian but also his family who have provided great support to Ian.


Janelle recently commenced 2 jobs! She works one day per week at Ability Works Kew and two half days in open employment at Boccaccio Cellars IGA Balwyn. This is a great achievement for Janelle! As a child she was involved in an accident that left her with an acquired brain injury. Her family were of the belief that she would never be able to work. Janelle had other ideas! Her personality and attention to detail in an unpaid work assessment at the store quickly convinced the staff that she should be offered on-going employment.

Janelle has now adjusted to working life and she has a good balance where she can still engage in her art classes one day per week.

The staff at Boccaccio have been extremely accommodating giving careful consideration to implement training and support for Janelle. Interesting to note that this store has been in business for over 30 years and this is the first time that a DES service has approached them to consider employing a person with a disability.
Janelle can now look forward to establishing her own work career and having a lot more social interaction with newly acquired friendships.

Noami J

Thank You from Naomi J to her Post Placement Consultant

I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for your ongoing support over the last 16 months while I was a client within DVJS. Looking back over the past 16 months, I remember the first day when I walked into DVJS in Dandenong in 2013, I had very little experience within the work industry & to now look and see how far I have come from then until now is a very big change.

You have given me the support that I needed to fulfil the requirements within my casual employment at Ragman's. When I was feeling unconfident you stood by me & gave me the confidence that Yes I can do it. You have spent endless hours with me over the past 16 months addressing all the concerns I had & taking me step by step through them so that they can be resolved.

Words cannot thank you enough for the guidance you have given me & the confidence you have enabled me to gain. I stand here today a different person because of the guidance & support you have given to me.

Once again I would like to take the opportunity to say Thank You.

Christopher B

Integrated Garden and Property Service Pty Ltd

Chris was 17 years old when he first joined DVJS two years ago from Emerson Special School, he is polite young man. Chris was seeking Gardening/ Landscaping employment and he was particularly keen to secure an apprenticeship.

DVJS Employment Solutions has helped Chris obtain a traineeship through DAAWS where he is currently completing his Certificate II in Horticulture Parks & Gardens. DVJS Employment Solutions also marketed on his behalf & was able to obtain work for him in his field of interest as a Trainer Gardener at Integrated Garden & Property Service Pty Ltd.

Chris has been working there for over a year, he is thoroughly enjoying it...

Well Done Chris!!!