Price Attack apprenticeship gives miracle Queenslander a chance to shine

When Price Attack CEO John Pascoe read Alyssa Nolan’s moving story his team sprang to work. Together with Corinne Baker, business development manager corporate stores, they reached out to Alyssa.

The Queenslander is a medical miracle. Born cojoined at the head with her sister Bethany, she survived a marathon operation, ordered by the Supreme Court in 2001, to separate the twins.

Two weeks ago, Queensland’s The Courier Mail shared Alyssa’s latest battle – finding a job.

“I am a caring giving person … I was given the most amazing chance at life and now I just want to live it like any other young woman,” Alyssa told The Courier-Mail.

Bethany didn’t survive the operation and at only 23 days old, Alyssa’s life hung in the balance: the twins had shared 10cm of skull and some brain tissue and cranial draining veins.

With only one kidney, and suffering two cardiac arrests during the risky surgery, Alyssa was left with a 30cm open cavity in her skull where Bethany used to lie. 

Since then Alyssa has continued to thrive, determined to live her best life twice, always remembering her sister. 

But she has found it hard to get a job.

“I have a mild intellectual disability, but it doesn’t stop me working hard. I just might take a little bit longer to learn new things.” 

Alyssa told the paper, she would love a job in retail, she was chatty, friendly and loved to meet and talk to people. 

“I want the chance to show people that I would be a reliable and good worker. That despite my many obstacles in life. I just want to be like any other 20-year-old girl. I have applied for retail jobs but have been rejected maybe because of my health issues. I am epileptic. But that’s well controlled. I will show up every day.”

And that’s when Price Attack stepped in. Last week Alyssa started her first ever paid job: a hairdressing apprenticeship at the Indooroopilly salon. 

Business development manager Corinne Baker [pictured above with Alyssa] said with such a skills shortage in hairdressing, it made perfect sense to not only give Alyssa a job but also give her some skills she could draw on for the rest of her life.

“When we saw the story in the paper, we straight away thought about the best way to help,” she said.  

“Hairdressing is a skill you can take with you, wherever you choose to live. We often hear stories of people choosing not to work, so when you hear that someone genuinely wants a job …then they should be given a chance to shine.

“We were horrified to hear she had worked for free for a retailer, who did not offer her a job.”

Bakers said all Price Attack salons aim to be inclusive with employees and customers.

“For example, a new Price Attack salon opening in Sydney soon is introducing quiet times for adults or children with autism to have their hair cut in an environment where they feel safe and calm. Similarly, they will introduce other private spaces where women can remove their hijabs for a treatment.”