Exploring Central Queensland

Mikel's story

An inspiring story of how learning, hard work and accepting a challenge can see you grow with an organisation to achieve the very goals you dreamed about.

I had been at Mirikai a very long time and I was looking for the next challenge and felt ready for a senior leadership role

Making a contribution

A philosopher at heart, Mikel is curious about what makes a good society and good people.

He talks about wanting to make a contribution to community and to live a life where he gets to give more than he takes. Working for 11 years at our long established Mirikai residential service on the Gold Coast, Mikel was already kicking this goal.

Moving from his hometown of the Gold Coast to Rockhampton to work towards opening Lives Lived Well’s new 42-bed residential service, both his career and altruistic dreams are now a reality, and he is very excited about it.

“Drilling down, I know that essentially I want to be part of a service that is as supportive as possible, working with a team on a program that is as supportive as possible,” he said.

“Lives Lived Well has not had a service like this before, where withdrawal, alcohol and drug treatment and family support are all in one place.

“There is a real buzz about it in the community, This is huge for the people of Central Queensland and the enormity of it isn’t lost on me. I share in their excitement and, as the new Clinical Service Manager, I feel a responsibility to get the service right.”

Are you passionate about the possibilities?
Explore our careers page for opportunities at Lives Lived Well.

From being supported to supporting others

Rewind to when Mikel was 23, and what he was doing wasn’t working out for him.

When he first walked through the door at Lives Lived Well’s residential treatment service, Mirikai at Burleigh Heads, it was as a client in need of support. “The people at Mirikai helped me rediscover who I was and what I wanted to do in the world.”

And what he wanted was to work in the alcohol and drug support sector.

People-oriented, with interests in psychology and philosophy and an avid reader of both those subjects, and having experienced treatment firsthand, that field of work strongly appealed.

He started by volunteering and doing one day per week in operational support, helping the Mirikai Team Leader with the daily operations such as purchasing and maintenance.

Soon after, Mikel was appointed as an after-hours support worker. From there, he took on other roles, including working with people with complex needs and young people and in our drug diversion service. He stepped up into a program co-ordinator role then became the Mirikai Team Leader, where he spent four years.

In the meantime, he studied, attaining diplomas in community services and mental health and is now close to completing Social Work Honours.

A new challenge

“I had been at Mirikai a very long time and I was looking for the next challenge and felt ready for a senior leadership role,” he said.

That challenge came in the form of an opportunity to open a brand-new service, built from the ground up, and a move to regional Queensland. “Moving to Rockhampton wasn’t that big of a change for me. It’s a short flight back home and with the internet, the world is smaller with everything only a click away,” he said.

“I am enjoying the lifestyle change. I live a half-hour drive away on the coast in Yeppoon – a beautiful part of the world. I love the outdoors, travel and experiencing new things, so I’m loving exploring this region from 4WDriving in national parks to visiting the islands. I’m itching to buy a boat!”

On the work front, Mikel is out in community, talking to people about the Rockhampton service opening in late 2021. “I’m out there highlighting the benefits of this service and how by working together we can positively impact on the community,” he said.

Right now his focus is on recruiting – gathering a team of nurses, consulting GPs, AOD treatment facilitators, support workers and finding just the right Team Leader.

“Thanks to funding from the Queensland Government, we’re doing something unique here in AOD treatment. I have a sense and a hope that once we’re up and running, others will look to what can be replicated in treatment models elsewhere. I am looking forward to working with the team on the ground and having a positive impact on the wider community. I see the bigger picture and I’m very excited about the project.”

If you are interested in taking on a new challenge like Mikel, and see Rockhampton as the lifestyle change you are seeking, register your interest to join our team and work at the new Rockhampton residential service opening at the end of 2021 via our project page. Applications for roles will open when recruitment to the service starts in May 2021.

Are you asking why not and what’s next?
Head to our careers page to view opportunities at Lives Lived Well.