Louise Purtill was looking for a big change when she took voluntary redundancy from a successful career in operations for computer giant IBM. The mental health voluntary work Louise undertook convinced her she needed a job where she could support people – that’s when she found Seetec.
“I didn’t know exactly what I wanted from a career change, but I knew what I didn’t want anymore,” Louise said. “I knew I wanted to do something with more meaning and that I wanted to work within my own community, supporting people in it.”
“Working for a multinational was exciting, it was high pressured and fast-paced but there was a piece missing for me,” she continued.
For many years, Louise was deeply involved in mental health volunteering in her local area, primarily the Samaritans and SOSAD, a suicide prevention and mental health crisis organisation. After a stint of travel, Louise set to work finding a new job that could give her a similar sense of purpose as her voluntary work.
“I was looking at lots of roles and I kept getting directed towards software,” she said. “I read through the employment advisor job description at Seetec and finally saw a role that would give me a chance to work with people in my community and help them. It was exactly what I wanted.”
“I started with Seetec in 2019 and I haven’t looked back,” Louise said. “I had plenty of transferable skills from my operations job, but my work with Samaritans and SOSAD, assisting vulnerable people taught me more about making connections, breaking down barriers and really hearing people’s life stories than anything else. Active listening, that’s listening to someone without judgement, is the best way to be there for another person.”
“It’s very humbling when people begin to open up to you about what they want and need. Some people might have the perception that we’re here to force them into applying for things they don’t want. My job is to reassure all my clients that I’m here to help them in their specific journey with their own unique needs, to support them in finding things that will improve their lives.”
Louise describes the feeling she has when she supports a client into employment as like winning the lottery. “That’s the job satisfaction right there. You put in all this hard work with the client, you’re with them through their entire journey, motivating them, helping them through setbacks. When they finally achieve their goal it’s so gratifying.”
Louise believes that a lack of confidence and anxiety can be huge stumbling blocks to people in returning to work, but that these issues can be debilitating to all of us. As part of Seetec’s Wellness team, a group of Seetec employees who deliver health and wellbeing activities to our staff across Ireland, Louise began delivering monthly mindfulness sessions online to help her colleagues deal with Covid-19 anxiety and connect during restrictions.
As part of our ongoing commitment to continuous improvement of services, Louise will engage with colleagues to explore the possibility of introducing our clients to holistic mental health techniques.
“I would like at some point to explore the potential of offering these sessions to clients in person. These types of workshops, confidence building, managing anxiety and mindfulness can be wonderful for helping people take positive steps forward in their lives.”
Louise is proud to be part of an organisation like Seetec, she said: “It’s a great team we have here with lots of like-minded people. That filters out to the work we do in our communities.”