For more than a decade, Hannah worked in the home support sector. She was highly experienced, highly competent, and highly valued. 

Hannah took some time out of the paid workforce to have two children, now aged five and two. Then a strange thing happened – she lost confidence about returning to paid employment. 

That is the point at which Bamara Support Mentor Merv intervened. Merv from our Taree team, was Hannah’s Support Mentor at ParentsNext, the Australian Government initiative delivered by Bamara, supporting parents of younger children preparing and planning for employment. 

“Merv made a big difference in this whole process.

I’ve known him for a long time, he has always been supportive. When I wasn’t sure if I wanted to study or go back to work, he gave me the information I needed and didn’t push me to do anything I wasn’t ready for.” 

During the COVID restrictions of 2020, Hannah accessed ParentsNext programs from her home at Diamond Beach, midway between Forster and Taree. “We had a mothers’ group and a kids playgroup that took place online over zoom,” she says. 

“Then when I was ready to start work again Merv encouraged me to do a couple of things such as get onto SEEK and talk to my old employers. I saw a job advertised on SEEK as a Manager of Home Support Coordinators. I told Merv about it but said I didn’t think I could do that job because I’d been out of the workforce too long. 

“He said, ‘Hannah, you could totally do that role.’ That was the boost in confidence that I needed at that time. His belief in me was the extra push that helped me get to the next level.” 

Hannah is now working full-time in this demanding but rewarding role for a community-based organisation that helps families, older people, people with disability and their carers. As a manager, she supports workers supporting local people in need, giving back the sort of support that Bamara and her ParentsNext Support Mentor gave her.