Jeff designs his future after auto
Jeff urges people who have recently left the auto industry to take advantage of the support available to find work, landing a new job himself at Cornell Design after 35 years in the auto supply chain.
“After completing my fitter and turner apprenticeship at the age of 17, I started working at Hills Industries, which was later bought out by Tenneco,” Jeff said.
“I was a fitter and turner for many years and then gravitated towards the drawing office, doing computer aided design, or CAD, work at Tenneco Walker.”
Jeff said he clearly remembers how he felt when he heard Holden would no longer be making cars in Australia, and that he would eventually lose his job.
“When I heard Holden would close, it was gut wrenching,” Jeff said.
“I remember seeing it on the news and thinking there’s still Toyota, so we’re still safe – and then Toyota announced they would leave too.
“They cut jobs in my department after the announcement, as there was no new design work coming in, and so I spent the past four years working at Tenneco Monroe.
“I lost my job altogether in October last year when Holden closed, although I’d already planned to take leave at that time as I was moving in to a new house.
“I found myself getting stuck in to moving and doing work around the new house, so it didn’t really hit me until about the end of November that I had no job.
“It was horrible. I went through all the stages of anger, grief and then acceptance.
“I had redundancy money but I didn’t want to blow it all on day-to-day living and so I went in to emergency mode to get a job but, being around Christmas, no one was really hiring.
“I applied for a job at Cornell Design but as I was proficient in a different type of CAD software to what they use, I didn’t get the job at the time. Although they did mention some upcoming work with the software I knew, so I wasn’t out of the running completely.
“They rang me back early in January and offered me a job.”
Former auto industry workers should start looking for work now, as it can take longer than you expect to find it.
“Apply for anything and everything you can, as you never know what opportunities may become available – like the one at Cornell for me,” Jeff said.
“I’d also recommend using the Job Connect service and the other support services available.
“I used the funding through the Auto Workers in Transition Program for a project management course which looks great on my resume, and I was also registered with Job Connect.
“Also, don’t take it personally if you don’t hear back from employers.
“You can start to feel like you don’t have what it takes, but it’s just a matter of finding the right fit for you. It’s like selling a house – you only need one buyer.”