Being in and out of jobs for decades can leave a toll on anyone’s wellbeing.

Not having a stable income means some of the things we take for granted, such as renting or buying a home, having a car, going on holidays or even eating out, are mere pipedreams.

Noel was on a pension for years before he connected with YFS. He was living a secluded life in his public-housing home.

That’s where Noel met YFS’ Spark worker Deb Jones. Deb was visiting his public housing estate, helping people get more out of their lives.

When he first met Deb, Noel put his hand up to do some volunteering.

“I was on a disability pension and I had too much time on my hands,” Noel said. “I wasn’t doing anything really. I hadn’t been earning an income for years.

“I was hoping that volunteering would get me a truck driving job.  I started volunteering at Substation 33 and Deb quickly helped me get my truck drivers licence. I‘m not a truck driver yet, but I still want to be one.”

Substation 33 is a YFS social enterprise where volunteers from all walks of life collaborate on projects that recycle electronic waste, helping build their capacity to get paid work.

Deb knew Noel would benefit greatly from the social environment at Substation 33.

“Because Noel had been at home for a while, I knew he would benefit from social interactions,’ she said.

“He was volunteering three days a week and this helped him develop his teamwork skills, which are so important to most employers.

“Noel impressed me with his determination. He’s a go getter. We organised opportunities for him to expand his skills and he took every opportunity we presented him with.”

Soon enough, Noel was ripe for a placement in a paid job, and Substation 33 helped him get back in the workforce and earning an income again.

Since April 2018, Noel has been earning an income, working at a florist warehouse in Logan. There, he helps pack bulk flower orders that ensure the region’s florists are fully stocked.

“I’m learning a lot about flowers and roses. Gosh there are so many different names for the types of roses,” he said.

“I’m making some money for myself too. And that’s great. It’s fantastic. I’m getting paid every fortnight.

“It means I can no save up for some important things like a car. I also want to save up and go on a holiday.”