Mike Taylor is the founder of the Lane Cove-based ‘Get That Job’ program where he assists people getting back into the workforce.
Born in the UK in West Hampstead, Mike studied at the University of Essex and the London School of Economics, where he undertook a Masters in Industrial Relations. A keen skydiver, he was often in search of blue skies.
Following his studies, he spent a year travelling. It was this trip that ignited his love for Australia – along with socialising with antipodeans in their famous London hang-out, Earls Court.
“Australia had the weather for skydiving and I fell in love with the larrikin ‘can do’ attitude. It was such a stark contrast to how it was in the UK at the time.”
In 1972, he had a skydiving accident that led to four months recovery and two further years before he could get back into the air again.
In his working life, he joined British Airways and later BP Australia that led to work around the world, joined by his wife Angela who he married
Ultimately Mike, Angela and their three daughters landed in Lane Cove. Making a change of direction himself, Mike joined PWC in a career management consulting role. Upon retirement in 2009 Angela led the couple to Oman where she taught English for four years and Mike gave tours of the mountains in his 4WD.
On their return, Mike said whilst enjoying the odd conversation at his favourite Lane Cove coffee shop; when people found out the sort of work he had been involved in, they would ask for tips on how to find a job.
“I realised there was a group of people in Lane Cove who had been made redundant, or who were looking for a career change, who were struggling with how to go about it and realised that I could be useful,” he said.
Mike explained that he approached Lane Cove Council, and proposed they jointly, provide a workshop and program for people wanting to improve their chances of landing the right job, or could see a way of transitioning to a new career.
“Lane Cove Council was and is very supportive of the program, providing me with a space to bring people together and the marketing so people can learn about what is available,” Mike said.
Susan Heyne, Manager Community Services at Lane Cove Council runs the logistics side of things and Mike said she does a terrific job.
The program offers more than straight workshops. Mike explains that the attendees – normally eight people at a time – also meet for a Monday morning coffee, have the opportunity for individual meetings and take part in Zoom sessions; a new development that came out of the lockdowns.
Until recently Mike was assisted with the Zoom meetings by a younger Human Resources specialist, Katrina Digby.
“I know about the world of work, but Katrina, who is now moving overseas, knew about what is happening now: we really complemented each other well.
“The program has proved very successful, and has now been running for the last four years.
“I’ve been particularly proud of helping new immigrants, or people whose first language isn’t English find suitable employment that fits their skills.”
Anyone in the local area who is finding it difficult getting back into the workforce is encouraged to join.
The next program commences with the workshop on Thursday 2 June. Anyone wishing to attend should contact Lane Cove Council’s Susan Heyne, Manager Community Services (SHeyne@lanecove.nsw.gov.au).