Joshua running in top gear after completing Kick Start program
Joshua Doherty is thriving, holding down a job at his local Woolies, enjoying tinkering with his spotlessly presented 1997 BMW car and generally enjoying life like any young man should.
You can see the joy in his eyes, happy in his skin and ready for the next chapter in the book of life.
But just over 12 months ago his life was stuck in neutral, with little hope of finding first gear.
A debilitating bout of anxiety, the scourge of this young generation, seemingly turbo-charged by the COVID lockdowns, had him house bound.
“I hadn’t been to school, and I had really bad anxiety,” Joshua said.
“I couldn’t catch a bus and I had a lot of trouble talking to people.”
But just one act can change a life or in this case an email. The Salvation Army referred Joshua to the Kick Start program.
It was a life changing moment, and with the support and encouragement of his father, Joshua went for an interview and started the unique hospitality training course soon after.
A PAYCE Foundation social enterprise, Kick Start operates a fleet of mobile cafes on construction sites and provides training and employment opportunities for young people.
Kick Start aims to partner with developers, builders, industry stakeholders and community organisations to deliver positive social outcomes through jobs and training for young people.
During their employment with Kick Start, trainees participate in a six-month program that includes practical on-the-job training, formal qualifications in hospitality and one-on-one mentoring to help them succeed.
Joshua was nervous on his first day – like any new employee, but he said the support and training soon helped him build his confidence, including dealing with the public.
“Everyone was super supportive, and they understood what I needed,” he said.
“Being in the environment of working with people, allowed me to train myself and fight the anxiety.
“I saw my sister yesterday and she said the difference between me then and now is just night and day.”
Joshua is happy with what he has achieved since graduating and is considering further study down the track.