My entry to Equip was rather an interesting one. After leaving Wellington due to needing a change of scene, I struggled to find work. After two months of not finding anything, and helping with some voluntary painting, my father encouraged me to go and chat with the people at Equip to find out about working in the social services.
I thought maybe I could help out by doing odd jobs, as all I had to my name was a nearly finished sociology degree. After going through an interview process I was offered a job! I arrived at Equip with no knowledge, no experience and nervous as heck. Equip was pretty small then, as an organisation. We only had two rooms of the current block, one for general meetings and supervision and one for all staff to hand write notes, email, phone, eat lunch and have staff meetings.
As we have grown into something else, the specialness of the place has not changed. in the seven years I have been here, we have become more efficient and effective in the community and offer more services to those in the community. Often when something grows it loses what draws people in. This is not the case at Equip. People do not get lost at Equip, they find themselves and what they are meant to do. I see people now who have moved on to other things, working in different sectors taking the skills they learnt and utilising them in their world. I see people thrive in this sector and have continued to pursue careers in mental health. For me, I chose to study, get qualified and was blessed with a role that challenges me to inspire, support and teach those here at Equip. Equip for me has always been a place of learning and developing character. For so many of the young people coming in, it is a hard journey of having your eyes opened to a world not many see or when they do, choose to ignore. I don’t know yet where I will head in the future but when I succeed in whatever I do, it will be due to my time at Equip.
Hope is prominent in this place. Though the workers sometimes have challenging days, the offices are a place of safety, a place where you can be open with the person next to you. A place where someone says, “that didn’t sound good” after over hearing a difficult phone conversation, and offer a debrief. Life can be interesting sometimes, and the work we are in is definitely that. As one of the longer standing team members now I feel like the organisation has shaped a large part of who I am and I see it with other team members.
Equip as a service changes workers lives, thanks to the ethos it was founded on and those who came before me and those who are still here and the focus they installed into the bones of the organisation many years ago. May it long continue.
Former Team Leader