Jessica or Jess, as she likes to be called, grew up in Gladstone NSW – a quaint little town on the Macleay River on the Macleay Valley Coast.

The picturesque town is known for its historic buildings, art galleries and specialty shops. Being a small town means jobs are often scarce as you could imagine. Jess, with all the challenges of being a young, single mum living in a small town landed a terrific job that she loves and suits everything she is doing with the help of Bamara.

Jess had been living in Sydney for about five years. After falling pregnant she wanted to move back to have her baby in her hometown. She was happy in moving back but also knew that there would be a new set of challenges in looking for work and settling down as a new mum. She had spoken of having a hard time settling back in and decided that it was time to turn things around.

She was referred to Bamara ParentsNext program in Kempsey. Jess said, “I wasn’t really quite sure what it was going to be all about, I thought it was going to be along the lines of jobactive but it was very different to that.”

She recalled her early days with her Case Manager, Rachel, saying, “I felt really at ease as she understood, was kind and super supportive, never pushing me too much but made sure I was doing things to set some goals.”

She said this was great in that it helped her get focused without feeling pressured with becoming a new mum as well.

“Sometimes it was hard to attend face to face with juggling being a new mum and life in general. Rachel always made it easy and we would catch up on the phone if needed which was great support.”

One of the first things Jess and her Case Manager organised was to join a local playgroup which she said was daunting to start with.

“I had suffered some postnatal depression, had not been going out much and a lot of the mothers were quite a bit older than me but after some time it got much better and Lucy absolutely loved playing with the other kids and on all the equipment,” said Jessica.

Moving back to Gladstone eventually proved to be the right thing to do as Jess reconnected with an old friend who was starting her own traffic control business.

She said if Jess got her tickets to work in the industry she would give her a job. This was exciting news and she immediately rang her Case Manager at Bamara who got to work getting her upskilled and Jess was into her first class the very next week. In a short time, Jess had completed both her White Card and Traffic Controllers tickets and was ready to start work.

Bamara also decked her out with some heavy-duty steel-capped boots, a work coat for the cold wet days and a radio transceiver which were all items she required to do the job.

She said that aside from her accomplishment in having Lucy she had not had anything make her feel so good for some time in getting her qualifications and a job she just loved doing that also suited her and Lucy’s lifestyle.

She said, “It really helped my self-confidence but also my bank account which was super handy,” and laughed.

“Bamara helped me get focused without feeling pressured,” said Jessica.

She was very proud to talk about all of her job duties. She spoke of all the jobs she has been involved in particular assisting with the bushfire relief during the 2019 bushfires when the Kempsey region was badly affected.

Jess has now been happily employed in the job for over twelve months and has set a new goal of obtaining her Red Card which will open new doors for her to be promoted in the future.

We will be on the lookout knowing if we get stopped by a person with a smile as big as the sign it most probably will be you.