Nathan’s story: From homeless to health professional

A picture of Nathan smiling at the camera. He has his arms crossed and is wearing blue hospital scrubs

After being unemployed, Nathan Talbott woke up smiling every day during a pre-employment program and is now on a flourishing career path

This story was first published on Friday 4 October 2019. If you wish to use this content, please contact to confirm that the information is still current.

A joint Federal-Queensland pre-employment program for Indigenous job seekers gave Nathan Talbott the hand up he needed.

Nathan, who lives in Brisbane, had been looking for work for some time without much success.  

He had an interest in working in the health sector, so when an opportunity came up in that area, he was keen to participate.

Working with his jobactive provider, MatchWorks, Nathan applied to take part in a collaborative pre-employment program with Metro South Hospital and Health Services, a division of Queensland Health.

This program, a joint initiative of the Federal and Queensland Governments, includes three weeks’ onsite training at the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Hospital (QEII) as well as vocational placement in Operational Services.

After attending an information session and interview with the employer, Nathan was offered one of ten spots in the program.

During the program, Nathan experienced some personal challenges, but thanks to support from MatchWorks, he was able to complete the program.

“Without the support of my job network I wouldn’t be here. I went in for a food card and that’s when they found out I was homeless and helped me,” Nathan said.

MatchWorks provided Nathan with financial assistance thanks to the Government’s Employment Fund which assisted Nathan with transport costs, crisis accommodation and providing work-related items while he was in training.

Nathan’s MatchWorks consultant also supported him with extra accommodation assistance, writing a character reference and coordinating personalised post-placement support with the hospital, trainer and mentors from the Queensland Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Partnerships.

Nathan proved himself in the pre-employment program and was offered paid work as an Operational Services Officer in April 2019.

Nathan has flourished in his new role. He was recently recommended by his peers and managers for a coveted training program that will see him progress into working in the operating theatres.

QEII Operational Services Manager Wayne Webster has been very impressed with Nathan’s work, despite the challenges he has had to overcome.

“When Nathan attended the job seeker information session, he arrived late and the staff who were selecting the candidates said no.

“However, Nathan was given a go and he demonstrated that he was motivated and proved himself. It was the same staff that originally said no who have recommended him for this new position,” Wayne said.

Nathan has since supported other participants in the program and recommends it to others looking for work.

“During the three-week program I woke up smiling… Take it and do it with no regrets, it’s the one you knock back that you regret,” Nathan said.

From the Newsroom

Correct at time of publication.