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Jahmal Matenga-Wilson came to Challenge Employment and Training to complete the Skilling Queenslanders for Work Certificate II in Engineering Pathways, however his path before reaching us involved many struggles.

Jahmal didn’t have the easiest childhood and during this time he missed four years of schooling. On top of that Jahmal has a hearing disability which requires him to wear a hearing aid 24/7. Jahmal’s hearing disability was big barrier for him to overcome, but he didn’t let it hinder him from applying to our Engineering Program.

In 2010, Jahmal and his family moved over to Australia from New Zealand and by this time Jahmal had decided that he really wanted to go back to finish school but unfortunately many schools refused entry as he was too far behind. Jahmal was then referred to Boystown. After a couple months at Boystown, they referred him to Redbank Plains High where after an interview with the Principal they agreed to accept him and suggested that he go down a grade to catch up on his learning.

After Jahmal proudly graduated school, he wanted to take it a step further and go to university but unfortunately the financial barriers prevented him. This is where Jahmal found Challenge Employment and the Engineering Program. Throughout Jahmal’s studies here, he faced some physical barriers. There was times where the physical and mental aspects of the program were a great challenge for Jahmal and there were two important people who played an important role in helping him to get through the program. To assist Jahmal with the physical barrier and to ensure he had a chance at employment at the end of the program, Verge the Engineering Trainer and Wally the Project Officer created a training plan to allow Jahmal to have work placement every Friday to adapt to the heat conditions and the heavy lifting of steel plates and helped to sign him up to a gym.

Jahmal says that, ‘the greatest inspiration for me throughout my course was Verge Worth. Without his wisdom, care and patience to see through my lack of skills and ability in Engineering, I would not have made it this far.’

Hans Kummerhel the manager at Austral Monsoon came to Toni, the Manager of Development and Engagement at Challenge and explained that he needed someone who he could train to do some programming on the machines, so off Toni went to Verge and asked who he recommended to put forward for the position. Without hesitation Verge put Jahmal forward knowing that his strong suit is maths! Jahmal then went to Austral Monsoon for an interview and amazed Hans with his high level of maths, problem solving skills and his ability to use the program so quickly. Later that day, Hans hand picked Jahmal to be trained as the CNC Machinist trainee. To keep this position Jahmal kept working hard on his physical abilities to be able to pick up the 20kg steel plates that are required as part of his traineeship. Hans says that Jahmal is now turning out to be one fantastic employee at Austral Monsoon. This was of course a massive achievement for Jahmal!

Jahmal says he is also very thankful to Challenge Employment for assisting him in his journey to completing his studies and gaining employment at Austral Monsoon – a job that he says he is really enjoying. He was particularly thankful for the engaging hands on experience, job hunting and interview processes that are all part of the Engineering Program here at Challenge. All of these techniques gave him that bit more confidence in himself when it came time to meet the employers, like Austral Monsoon.

To quote Jahmal – ‘By completing my Certificate II in Engineering Pathways and securing employment at Austral Monsoon, it helped me to realise and unlock potential that I never knew I had.’

We have recently nominated Jahmal for the 2018 Queensland Training Awards for his inspiring journey and success story that we are extremely proud to be a part of!

Inspired? We know we are!

Interested? You can call the office on (07) 3282 8000 or register your interest here. 

The Engineering Pathways Program is proudly funded under the Queensland Governments Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative.