Leroy Joinbee is a former Work Skills Trainee and was a 2019 Finalist for the QLD Training Awards Equity VET Student of the year. Since completing his traineeship, Leroy has transitioned to become a Support Worker on the Mylestones Solutions Cairns Garden Crew.
My name is Leroy Joinbee and I am a proud Indigenous man living in Cairns. I am a successful graduate of Skilling Queenslanders for Work - Work Skills Traineeship Cert I Conservation and Land Management, which I undertook while working for the Mylestones Solutions Garden Crew in Cairns.
The opportunity was exciting: I had landed an interview with an organisation who wouldn't discriminate because of my disability and who would in fact, support me every step of the way, despite my barriers. It gave me confidence knowing the Mylestones team would not only accept me for me but help me reach my goals.
At school my hearing impairment left me feeling excluded because I couldn't hear everyone, including my teachers, and I struggled to make friends. This had a huge impact on my mental health, but I was determined to turn my life around, to not hide and feel ashamed. I set three goals for myself; keep physically fit, spend time working on my art and get a job.
Working out in the gym kick-started the improvements in my mental health. Even though I had learned to lip read, I felt traditional learning programs were unachievable for me. After reading more about Mylestones, it made me more confident that the traineeship with the Garden Crew was perfect for me, so jumped in head first.
I like working outside with my hands, fixing equipment and keeping gardens looking pristine. And I was motivated by the idea of working with other people with barriers so we can support each other to overcome our barriers and achieve great things. Everyone was positive about the achievements that could be made by working with the Crew. I was anxious about studying but my determination and confidence in Mylestones' support helped me push through the anxiety.
Initially, major challenges included transport. I don't drive and Cairns' public transport isn't great. Mylestones developed a transport plan so I could be at work on time, every day. They were really understanding of my needs and it was such a relief to know even though I couldn't drive, I could still apply for the job to make the most out of my training.
The first few weeks were really hard. I spent time trying to lip read, learn everyone's body language and put my best foot forward. After a month or two everything just started to click. I was learning more and more about the job, myself and my co-workers, who I now consider my friends. I even found myself teaching my team mates strategies to deal with things they found difficult to learn and understand, both at work and in life in general.
I am inspired by my Mylestones co-workers each and every day, especially BW. When I first met BW, I couldn't understand what he was trying to say and I found it difficult to relate to him. I'm happy that I'm now able to call BW a friend. His never-give-up attitude inspires me to pull my boots up and work even harder.
Working with the Mylestones Solutions Garden Crew has helped me to stick to my studies, never give up and achieve my goals. As well as leading me to set a new and exciting target - to become a support worker for other people with disabilities.
I am excited about the future.