HELEN Wilson will return to work today after a six-month hiatus of working odd jobs in the aftermath of the record floods that devastated the Coles supermarket where she was employed late last year.
Immediately after the December events, Coles implemented a plan that would see many of its employees take on flood recovery jobs while the extensive refurbishments needed to get the store back up and running were undertaken.
And today, almost six months later, Helen walked back into work with many of her old co-workers, along with the 55 new staff hired to fill vacant positions and 30 new jobs created at the refurbished store.
“Coles would pay my wages as long as I worked 33.75 hours a week during the break,” Helen said.
“At first I was doing plenty of flood recovery work, doing long hours at the showgrounds recovery centre.
“When that finished up I found some work at Emerald Real Estate and then moved onto CQ Filters. As long as I put my time sheet in, Coles looked after me.”
Helen moved to Emerald 18 months ago and started working in the Coles dairy freezer department in November last year. Within two months, the Nogoa River rose to record heights and left her with an uncertain future.
“At first I wasn’t sure about what would happen just after the flood hit, but Coles were fantastic and kept us all in the loop right from the start,” she said.
“They held a meeting with all the staff straight away which left me with no fears, I had full confidence after that.
“They were always open and upfront and the support I got was fantastic, any time of the day or night I could ring someone with a question.”
The man fielding most of those calls was Emerald Coles store manager Darrin Simpson, who said the staff at Coles were counting the days until the grand reopening of the refurbished store today.
“No Emerald resident has been left untouched by the flood devastation, and we’re really happy to be able to provide the quality, range and value Emerald residents expect from Coles, once again,” Mr Simpson said.
“I just want to thank Mayor Peter Maguire for his fantastic efforts in helping us set up temporarily at the PCYC. He was instrumental in getting that up and running. Plus the PCYC for helping out, they deserve a huge thankyou.”
Helen returns to work today with a newly acquired full-time position, along with a promotion to second-in-charge in the dairy freezer department.
“I’m definitely looking forward to getting back to some normality,” she said.
OPEN DAY TODAY
Official opening 7.45am, with speech from Queensland Zone 1 general manager Mark Scates.
Doors open at 8am.
Free sample bags for the first 100 customers who spend $50 from 8am.
Outdoor broadcast by Hot FM 94.7 10am-2pm.
Cooking demonstrations, sampling and giveaways 10am-4pm.
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