AFTER working his whole life, Edward Valeri found himself in a downward spiral, becoming both unemployed and homeless within two years.
The 57-year-old from Whalan worked as a team leader at RailCorp before being let go two years ago after difficult work caused him to burn out.
“After I lost my job I was a total basket case for three months,” Mr Valeri said.
“It is like a domino effect. One thing after another happens and you end up with nothing. I had been earning substantial money when I was working, so I realised the dole just didn’t cut it. I needed positive thinking and a new direction.”
Mr Valeri sought crisis accommodation with the Department of Housing, where he met two other men in a similar situation.
The men bonded together and were approved for a private rental property in Whalan.
“We moved into our house on Christmas Eve last year. We had nothing. The house was completely empty. But to have a roof over our head was the best Christmas present ever,” Mr Valeri said.
Shortly after, he secured a job as a construction worker with Parramatta-based company Pivotal.
He was employed under a government jobseeker subsidy, which offers $10,000 to businesses that employ mature-aged workers over 50.
Pivotal sales and service manager Richard Medrzejewski said Edward had excelled since he had begun at the company three weeks ago.
“Edward has just grabbed the opportunity and ran with it,” Mr Medrzejewski said. “Being mature-aged, Edward has a wealth of experience and a great work attitude – he actually wants to be there.
“At Pivotal we do take advantage of the wade subsidy as it is an encouragement but we also look for people with the right skill set and feel we have a duty to help the community.”
Sarina Russo Job Access Mt Druitt manager Krystal Inglis said the subsidies were great for both jobseekers and employees alike “It’s amazing how many of local employers are not using available Australian Government wage subsidies “These wage subsidies aim to reduce business costs so they can create more work opportunities for Australia’s unemployed, particularly young people and older workers,” Mrs Inglis said.