FORMER Olympic swimmer and business owner Eamon Sullivan, who headlined a jobs fair in Morley yesterday, says he looks for job seekers who have a “positive attitude” and are willing to work at 100 per cent.
The 32-year-old addressed more than 60 job seekers and several employers at The Salvation Army Employment Plus centre, as part of the first of six Connecting Futures job fairs.
During his professional swimming career, Sullivan held two world records, won a silver medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 100m freestyle and 4x100m medley, a 4x100m medley gold medal at the 2007 Melbourne World Championships and a 4x100m freestyle gold medal at the 2011 Shanghai World Championships.
After winning Celebrity MasterChef Australia in 2009, he went on to open his first café, Louis Baxters in Subiaco in 2011, and restaurants Bib and Tucker in North Fremantle in 2013 and Mary Street Larder in East Fremantle in 2015.
He retired from competitive swimming in 2014 due to an ongoing injury despite qualifying for the 2014 Commonwealth Games team.
Sullivan said while he did not feel worthy to speak to people about jobs, it was great to have an opportunity to share his story and where he was today.
“I think myself, if swimming had not taken off, I would not have known what to do to be honest,” he said.
“I didn’t feel like I got great help when I was younger to find out what I wanted to do.
“So, I probably could have ended up in a place like this (The Salvation Army Employment Plus) to be honest – trying to find work.”
Sullivan said a jobseeker’s attitude was important as skills could be trained.
“Quite often, you get a lot of people who have skills but are not willing to try,” he said.
“Whereas, there are people like this who are 100 per cent ready to work, have a good attitude and skills can always be taught.”
He said his businesses have initiated training programs in certificate courses in hospitality for its employees.
In 2018, he aims to continually grow and improve his businesses and keep inspiring staff to work hard and deliver a better experience for customers.
The Salvation Army Employment Plus WA business development manager Joe Psaila said the main goal of the fairs was to get job seekers long-term employment.
Other fairs will be held in Morley on June 11, Osborne Park (April 11 and May 22), Clarkson (April 24) and Midland (June 6).
According to City of Bayswater’s’ 2017 data, the unemployment rate in Morley was more than 7.8 per cent – which was more than two per cent higher than the current national average of 5.5 per cent.