Paige overcomes barriers to fulfil her dream of working with horses
When you live in the city, it can be difficult to fulfil a dream of working with horses. But, with a partnership between WCIG and Gai Waterhouse Racing, an opportunity of a lifetime opened for Paige to follow her passion and work at Flemington racecourse.
Paige, who lives with mental health barriers, was unsure what she wanted to do. She just knew she wanted to do something with animals. She came to WCIG seeking direction and looking for assistance in finding meaningful employment.
When Paige first came to WCIG, her Employment Consultant, from the Disability Employment Services division, mentored and worked with her to identify her interests, and how she could turn these interests into an occupation she would love. It became evident that Paige not only had a passion for animals, especially horses, but also for the great outdoors. Her consultant worked with Paige to develop a plan for entering the workforce and assisted her with resume writing and interview techniques.
Once Paige was determined work-ready, she was referred to WCIG’s Business Development Officer, Becky Wall, who then ascertained any opportunities that would match Paige’s strengths, skillsets, and interests. It wasn't long after Becky spoke to the Operations Manager at Gai Waterhouse Racing about any openings at the stables at Flemington Racecourse that Paige was packing her day bag, putting her boots on and going to a job that would fulfil her dreams and give her a sense of pride.
Paige now works standard hours each week in the Gai Waterhouse stables at Flemington racecourse, providing daily care to the horses, ensuring the racehorses keep to a strict feeding and grooming routine and their needs are met, and maintaining the cleanliness of the stables and the horses’ equipment. Paige also regularly assists with preparing the horses for transportation and preparing them for race days.
Paige loves all that there is to learn and do every day she is at work. "I'm gaining more independence and self-assurance and am trying to learn as much as I can about this industry. I love being around a good team of workmates, and the horses are so well behaved."
"It's great to have Paige as part of our team. She has fitted in well and really understands what she is required to do. Working with the horses can be physically demanding, but Paige has taken it in their stride. I have noticed an uplift in Paige’s confidence as she gets to know the horses, and the horses fall more in love with her”, says her supervisor the Stable’s foreman, Rebecca.
"Working with such beautiful animals has helped me learn about the importance of looking after horses and myself. I must remain fit and healthy to keep up with what I need to do. I think it is a big step towards me learning more about responsibility, which will be good for me in the future", says Paige.
Paige looks forward to strengthening their skills as she continues to assist and watch the horses compete and conquer on their race days. Who knows, Paige could even be the stable hands of the next Melbourne Cup winner- it’s known to happen with Gai Waterhouse’s horses.