"There were times I cried because I'm not normal”
THE process of applying for and obtaining a job can be challenging for any teenager, but for Brianna Grice it comes with extra challenges.
The 18-year-old has a reading and writing disability, meaning her career options have been more limited than other jobseekers in her age group.
Recently, the Nambour resident has obtained a new job working in housekeeping at Argyle Park in Cotton Tree.
"This job is teaching me a lot of things I need to learn...they're really kind and they understand me,” she said.
"Most jobs have some type of reading or writing and it's pretty hard to find a job like this...people with disabilities do get judged sometimes.
"In the past, there were times I cried because I'm not normal and it's pretty hard to make friends...everybody else reads books and writes and does work, and I sometimes don't feel like I can connect to people and that's pretty hard.
Ms Grice obtained her new job through the assistance of Mylestones employment, a registered disability employment service provider that matches needs, skills and personalities to job seekers.
The team first matched Ms Grice with a local car dealership where she cleaned cars, working actively for 12 months and improving her knowledge of business, cars, and working in a different environment.
When the business ceased trading, she moved onto housekeeping work.
Job development officer Kim Molloy said throughout her time working, Brianna had not only improved her skills, but also increased her confidence.
"She has really come out of her shell,” she said.
"She's a wonderful kid and has great support which isn't always the case, so she's very fortunate in that respect.
"Through working with her, we found she had a real interest in cleaning, so I said that I had some contacts and we could have a look at getting some work and she's been there for a few months now, and doesn't want to leave.
"The Sunshine Coast is a great community for giving people a hand up and not a hand out, it's about fostering relationships and keeping doors open.
Prior to finding work, Ms Grice said the process of interviews and looking for work was particularly nerve-wracking.
"I was wondering 'Can I actually do this?'”, she said.
"I'm so glad I could find this job though...it helps me feel like I am capable and that I'm living life like a normal teenage girl...when you have a disability it's pretty hard to be normal, so this job helps me feel like I'm capable.
"Getting a job is a big step in helping me through life.
"All you have to do is try and don't give up, there's always a chance out there.”