TAFE Specialist Employment Partnerships (TSEP) is an employment service specifically designed to support TAFE students who are looking for employment support. We sat down with remedial massage therapist Matthew to discuss his journey to employment, and the support he received through TSEP and his disability employment service, Mylestones.
Hi Matthew! Thank you for taking the time to have a chat with us today. It would be great to get to know you a little.
My name is Matthew, I am a remedial massage therapist. I completed my Diploma of Remedial Massage at TAFE Springfield in November 2021. I enjoy different sports to give me an insight into sports performance. I enjoy working with elite professional athletes. I also love playing guitar.
Can you tell us how you came across the TSEP program?
I have had past issues in other jobs where I felt under pressure and could not cope. I have come across employers who were not supportive even with disclosure. So I was a little anxious about starting a role in the remedial massage industry. When TSEP consultant Mandy came to my class at TAFE and gave a short presentation I decided to sign on with Mylestones to help.
Having someone in your corner can make a huge difference. What kind of supports did you receive through Mylestones?
It was really helpful and took the pressure off the job application process. Mandy arranged interviews with employers, helped me prepare by creating practice questions, drove me to the interview and attended it with me. Having someone there to help me communicate my barriers made me feel relaxed and confident when I met them and once I started the role.
How did you feel when you found out you got the job at Ipswich Herbal Massage Spa?
I was very happy! Still a little bit anxious but not as much as I have been in the past. I knew Mandy would be there to support me on my first day and be available to support me when I needed it as I progressed in my role.
What did your first week look like? How did you feel?
The first few days I shadowed an existing staff member learning the everyday tasks. When I needed support I knew I could call and Mandy would come in for workplace visits or training.
Now you have settled into your role, what have you learnt so far? Have you noticed a change in your confidence levels?
Being employed has boosted my confidence, improved my mental health, and reduced my anxiety. The role has given me the hands-on experience that you just do not get at TAFE. It was challenging working with multiple clients, but I developed great customer service skills, social interaction and built rapport with the clients.
I learnt how to communicate with clients who were in pain, motivating a person and showing empathy. There was a fine line between motivating and showing empathy as I needed to help a person in pain progress and address their health concerns.
This was a huge learning curve for me, and I know this skill set will help me in any role in the health sector. I am financially better off working, I can look after my health better, play more sports, my next goal is to save up to start a small business.
Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for people looking to join the TSEP program?
Yes – don't be afraid to ask for help! It is there! Mylestones and TSEP is there to help students – utilize it!
To find out more about the TSEP program or speak with one of our consultants click here.