When EnergyAssist consultant Brendan learnt of his acceptance to the EnergyAustralia Financial Counselling Development Program he hugged the nearest person.
That person was his colleague Apurva, who in shock, asked what had happened.
"I wasn't religiously checking my emails that afternoon and when I saw the notification I was super super happy," Brendan said in laughter.
"Apurva quickly congratulated me and so did my colleagues over the next few days."
Learning about EnergyAustralia's Financial Counselling Development Program last November, Brendan was spurred to apply by Vulnerability Program Leader Kane Stella.
In 2018, the Hardship Investment Plan team invested $1.2 million into a three-year financial counselling initiative, providing scholarships for those who wanted to become a financial counsellor. The Diploma of Financial counselling will span two years and is run by ICAN Learn.
But for Brendan the decision to become a financial counsellor sprouted years ago.
"Before joining EA I faced a lot of financial challenges, in particular a gambling addiction," he said.
"I created a mountain of debt and went through a dark time. I didn't have many goals, all I wanted to do was have a beer and jump on a machine.
"I eventually climbed my way out of it and want to help and motivate others to do the same."
Working at EnergyAustralia for five years, Brendan began in a customer service role as an energy consultant then moved to the EnergyAssist team, guiding our most vulnerable customers to get back on track again.
"The biggest misconception about financial hardship is that it is category based. In reality, there are thousands of different scenarios that can put someone under pressure," he said.
"I can always relate to a person when I hear the pain and suffering in their voice. As a financial counsellor I want to not only get someone back into financial health but maybe even a headspace where they can move past the pressures."
Congratulations Brendan, we can't wait to see what the impact you make!
If you are experiencing hardship you may find helpful information here