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Host employment can change a worker’s life

Jason Berger and Sandra Hennessy

The ability to make a meaningful contribution to the workplace after a serious shoulder injury, which also contributed to a psychological injury, kept this worker focused on the end goal – return to work.

When construction worker Jason Berger (pictured) injured his shoulder on the job, and had no way of returning to the construction industry, an office job was his saviour.

Jason's initial shoulder injury left him unable to perform tasks around home, such as mowing the lawn and mopping the floor, let alone returning to a physically demanding job.

This then led to Jason suffering depression.

WorkCover Queensland Customer Advisor Sandra Hennessy recommended Jason participate in a host employment program – where he works for a period of time at an alternative employer.

Jason recalls that initially he felt sorry for himself, but Sandra and Jason's host employer listened to him, his needs and requirements.  His initial host employer was a retail company, but he flagged some further issues around his shoulder, with the hope of finding a more suitable position elsewhere.

“I had restrictions on my arm which cut out a lot of employment opportunities and I initially had no office skills. I found the host employers very supportive and they had knowledge of my injury.”

Sandra (pictured above with Jason) understood Jason's concerns, and working together with an occupational therapist, she found him a role with office duties, where he could showcase his strong work ethic, without damaging his shoulder.

Jason says, “getting off the couch and re-engaging with society was important. Returning to work changed my life. I learned new skills that I could put on my resume.”

“Without the host employer and Sandra, I wouldn't be where I am – I could experience work in an office environment in a paid employment opportunity,” he said.

Jason has this advice for others who find themselves in a similar situation:

“If you have been doing something and did damage to your body and can no longer do it, host employment  is your chance to put yourself through training. If you are depressed or down in the dumps, like I was, host employment is great. It gives you social interaction and makes you feel that you have contributed and accomplished something.”

Jason's host employment role has now led to a full time paid role with the host employer  – a great result for him and everyone involved.

For more information on host employment, or other host placement success stories please visit our website or call us on 1300 362 128.

*We'd like to thank Jason Berger for sharing his experience. We'd also like to thank Jason for the time he's taken to meet with his WorkCover Customer Advisor Sandra Hennessy, and we're pleased to have brought them together for a photo shoot. Thanks to photographer Carole Drouin.