Customer Success: Dion’s Story

At the age of 26, Dion was a certified concreter, but for years, his main source of income wasn’t from his concrete work. Instead, he was involved in illicit drug activities and recreational drug use. This dangerous path eventually led to his arrest and facing serious charges related to drug trafficking and handling the proceeds of crime.


When Dion sought assistance from Workways, he expressed a sincere desire for change, not just for himself but also for his family and future. He found himself at a crossroads, uncertain about his place in society, as his face had been plastered across major media headlines and newspapers.


Dion had specific aspirations:

  • He was determined to complete his rehabilitation and regain his sense of self-worth.
  • He longed for a job that would enable him to earn his income, to be independent, and no longer rely on government assistance or others.
  • He yearned to return to Melbourne, where he could be closer to his loved ones.

Dion’s journey led him to Laura Roberts, a formidable force in her role as Workways Employer Engagement Officer in Gippsland. Laura firmly believed that everyone possesses employable qualities, and it’s merely a matter of connecting the right person with the right job.


Dion had been mired in long-term unemployment, and much of his time was spent entangled in the justice system, resulting in two incarcerations and stints in rehabilitation at the Odyssey House. At this facility, every aspect of life was regulated: sleep, food intake, and communication with the outside world required prior approval. Dion had previously attempted rehabilitation at other centers but found no lasting success, often falling back into old habits. While he had expertise in concreting, Dion was unsure about returning to that line of work and was searching for a new direction.


Dion frequented the Workways office persistently, a testament to his commitment to securing employment. Laura took the initiative to contact Patties Foods, the home of Patties Pies, to vouch for Dion’s potential. She successfully arranged a job interview and provided support in improving Dion’s interview skills and boosting his self-confidence. Laura even drove him to the interview, and to Dion’s astonishment, he secured the position.


Dion started his new job with Laura’s unwavering support, ensuring that he met the requirements of both Odyssey House and Patties Foods, as they collaboratively backed his journey. Dion worked 38 hours a week while still participating in the Passionate Life Program through Odyssey House.


During his time in Bairnsdale, Dion overcame his addiction, came to terms with his sexuality and personal relationships, and successfully completed the Passionate Life Program, all while maintaining full-time employment. Dion felt the time had come to return to Melbourne.


Grateful to Patties Foods for taking a chance on him, he reached out to an employer in Melbourne and secured ongoing full-time work as a concreter, where he continues to thrive today in sustainable employment.


Image credit/source: bristolpost.co.uk