After seven years of being unemployed, client Jill Perkins found a job that she loves.

She works at Z Energy petrol station in Dunedin as a shop concierge and ‘chews the ear off anyone who walks through the door’.

“I just love every minute of it. It gives me a purpose, a reason to get up, put on make-up and get out the door in the morning.”

As a former hairdresser, she knew she had the skills to work with people, but it was about finding the right job for her taking into account her vision loss as well as having lower limb motor neuron disease which affects the mobility in her legs.

Two years ago she attended the Blind Foundation Pre-Employment Programme (now called Job Workshop) which helped her build her skills, confidence and develop strategies to overcome barriers.

Jill particularly enjoyed the practice interviews where she got a chance to develop how she was going to tell potential employers about her vision and mobility loss.

“My tactic was to tell them straight-up and address the elephant in the room as soon as possible to break the ice.”

It seemed her straight-up approach worked and it was through the networks that she made at the workshop that she landed the job at Z.

It was a casual position at first, however she now has a permanent part-time position across three stations. Her customer service proving so good that she recently won a staff award winning an all-expenses paid for trip to Auckland.

Throughout the process she has worked closely with Employment Consultant Julie Harrington.

“Julie is the halo above my head and if it wasn’t for Julie and the Blind Foundation then I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

She encourages others to embrace the opportunity, attend a Blind Foundation Job Workshop, meet amazing people and learn as much as possible.

The next workshop is 11 – 22 of June. Register your interest by 4 May. Find out what you need to know at the job workshop event page.