Donna Bitossi is packing her belongings and moving to Brisbane after she could not find employment on the Sunshine Coast.
Donna Bitossi is packing her belongings and moving to Brisbane after she could not find employment on the Sunshine Coast. Warren Lynam

Woman, 48, hard-working and forced to give up on job search

DONNA Bitossi was part of the Sunshine Coast job search treadmill for nearly eight months before finally giving up and moving to Brisbane.

The hard-working single mum would apply for about 20 jobs a week while she tried to eke out an existence on the Newstart Allowance supporting her three children.

Now, the woman who owned her own business in Nambour for 19 years before hitting hard times, has decided to move to Brisbane where there are more opportunities.

It wasn't just the frustration of seldom getting a reply to her many applications while dealing with Centrelink that crushed her.

It was the confusing employment process and the weird questions that would pop in an interview that had her always on the back foot.

"I'd apply for on average 20 jobs a week and half the time I'd never here back," she said.

"Then, when you do hear back and you go for an interview, they ask you questions you have no idea how to answer.

"I was asked in the one job for a carer's position what sort of animal I'd describe myself as."

Ms Bitossi wasn't fussy over what role she would take.

"I would do anything, I also wanted to trying disability work.

"But it is hard as you need a First Aid Certificate and that costs $150. Centrelink said they would reimburse me if I got the job, but I didn't have the cash to pay it upfront.

"That's the money I needed to pay for the week's food."

She wasn't sure if it was her age that made it impossible to find work.

"I'm 48 and it just seems they don't want people my age," she said.

"Moving to Brisbane will be the easiest.

"The Coast has not a lot of work for older people or single mothers.

"I haven't got a job and I can't find a home and rental properties have incredible prices."

Ms Bitossi never expected she'd be middle-aged and stuck for work, but life often throws lemons.

"I had my own home and business in Nambour, the business went broke, I lost the house and everything

"It sent us bankrupt, the marriage broke down and I was back into the workforce to start again

"You don't expect in the middle of your life to have to start everything again."

She is not the only one finding it hard to survive.

"I've been volunteering at the Nambour soup kitchen and the number of people who visit on a Monday night has gone up from 20 to 70 people.

"A lot of people are doing it tough."

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