Renae, who sells The Big Issue Australia in Adelaide, lives by her personal motto: “keep moving forward, don’t let anything hold you back”.
The 21-year-old certainly didn’t let her learning difficulties hamper her education. At school, she excelled in woodworking and completed several courses, including furniture making and construction. Yet she has struggled to find an apprenticeship after graduating.
Renae first heard about The Big Issue through a family friend. She found the training easy to understand and, on her first attempt, sold her bundle of magazines in just a few hours.
“It’s quite fun, and gets me out of the house for a few hours,” she says. “I only do it four days a week now. I don’t know the customers’ names, but they do like to have a chat if they’ve got time.
“My favourite spot is the Adelaide Arcade. I just hold the magazine up, and people ask me about it. Sometimes they buy it, sometimes they don’t, but at least they know what it’s about.”
Ultimately, Renae would love a job that lets her work with her hands, such as building – a passion she pursues in her spare time.
“At the moment I’m building a guinea-pig cage…I’ve got heaps of stuff to do. I’ve got a belt sander, some basic tools, even a biscuit cutter, but I still want to get a bench planer and a thicknesser.”
In the next couple of years, Renae hopes to secure a carpentry apprenticeship, which could lead her into full time work.
“But I think I’ll be selling The Big Issue for a while yet,” she adds. “I’m told it can take a couple of years to get an apprenticeship. My motto is ‘keep moving forward, don’t let anything hold you back’.”
This is a summary of an article by The Big Issue Australia reporter Peter Ascot published on INSP’s News Service.