Celebrating WISE Employment’s 25th anniversary, Luke reflects on his past and highlights how the program helped turn his life around

Throughout his twenties, Luke fought a long and hard battle with drug addiction. After getting help from programs such as WISE Employment, Luke was able to turn his life around. 14 years clean, Luke is now working in the LNG (liquid natural gas) sector and describes his life to be fuller, happier and more purposeful.

Luke, who is now 42 years old, found himself in a dark place 20 years ago. Due to his drug addiction he was financially dependent on the government, living on the street and found himself going in and out of police cells.

In 2003, Luke was ready to take control of his life. He was spiralling down a troublesome path, going in and out of cells and spending 1 month in assessment prison. He was introduced to the Bail Coordinator for the Magistrates Court, Jo, who had a connection with WISE Employment and was eager to help Luke get his life back.

“I was in a merry-go-round with the court system and had one last chance before I would be locked up again. I didn’t want that to happen. Jo introduced me to WISE Employment, where I was able to do some courses that really embraced me entering society again,” explained Luke.

With the help of WISE Employment, Luke was able to gain his independence back. After being unemployed for four years (on and off), Luke was able to develop and rebuild the skills required to enter the workforce again. He was able to get a job labouring and later spent 2.5 years working on an island in the LNG sector.

WISE Employment also provided Luke with mentors and emotional support through their Make It Work program. Make It Work was an enhanced vocationally focused employment and mentoring program developed and funded by WISE Employment. Make It Work ran from 2002 to 2006 and supported over 300 voluntary participants who were on bail. The program helped Luke stay focused on the end goal.

Today, Luke works in the LNG sector and is also very passionate about supporting people living with drug and alcohol addiction. Luke is very involved with Joseph’s Corner, a not-for-profit support service for families and friends living with drug and alcohol addiction. It provides free counselling services and family therapy as well as free educational workshops on self-esteem, problem resolution and meditation.

“The family unit is normally left shocked and traumatised after seeing a loved one battle with addiction, while the individual or addict is generally provided with all forms of assistance. Given my personal experience, this is a cause that I am extremely passionate about.”

Luke now has a secure job, a loving and supportive partner and is helping others find their way – he explained that WISE Employment gave him an opportunity to live a big and beautiful life.

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