Lacey joined the first Ladder Step Up Latrobe Valley program in 2018 when she was 16 years old. She felt that school wasn’t really for her and wanted to explore her options.

Ladder became a pivotal part of Lacey’s life and employment journey. During her time in the program, she was able to secure casual employment in hospitality.

“Having the constant support there and them actually believing in me… the fact that they had all the resources there for me, the tools and the constant support just really pushed me in the right direction… I wanted to get a job. Ladder helped me get my resume done and got me job interviews. Ladder helped me get the right job.”

Lacey reflected on her time at Ladder as a program participant five years ago and recalled so many life-changing experiences.

“My overall favourite memory of being in the Ladder program was going to the MCG and meeting all the draft players for the next season… It was a lot of fun and I met some pretty cool people… I also got my AFL Values award and it helped me get over my fear of public speaking that day. I had to speak in front of 50 people, it was scary!”

To this day, Lacey is still reminded of her achievement award and uses it as inspiration.

“I literally look at it every single day, it’s at my front door when I walk in. The four values of the AFL are to play to win; play with passion; play fair and play as one team. It was really really cool!”

Lacey’s goal since graduating the Ladder program was to one day work for Ladder as a Development Coach. With a recent vacancy as an administration assistant, Lacey jumped at the chance to apply and interview and was successful in beginning her Ladder employment journey. Lacey still has her sights on becoming a Development Coach and will be attending TAFE next year to complete a certificate in community services.

“What you put into a workplace is what you get out of it. I’m very dedicated to my work, especially it being this job. I’m going to put my whole entire everything into this… I want to learn about the job that I’m going to go for next year and perfect the job before I get into it.”

On Lacey’s first day in the office, she already met a few current program participants and engaged with them in their activities.

“Not only have they heard that the program works but they’re going to see an actual visual representation of it working. I can sit there and say that I’ve been in your shoes. I’ve been there, I’ve done that. You just have to make the changes for yourself if you want to be better. And if you decide you want to be better, you can get there. I was that kid that wanted to be helped, hence why I came to Ladder and wanted to make something of myself.”

Lacey believes she wouldn’t be where she is today if it wasn’t for the support from Ladder and its staff.

“Just the fact that the Regional Coordinator really believed in me and still to this day, if I believe that I can’t do something, her little voice comes to the back of my head saying “Yes you can! Don’t say you can’t!”. Lacey still keeps in touch with her from time to time and was excited to message her on her first day letting her know she was employed by Ladder.

Lacey is looking forward to working with the Ladder team and making a difference not only in the workplace, but with the program participants.  

“I’m so excited. I know what this place did for me and how it helped me and it’s just going to continue to help people. If I can go out there and share my story and say “you’ve got this, you can do it” because I was just like you, there is nothing stopping you from being better. Everything I do in my life now is for a purpose.”