Community Access Support Worker

True Stories: Melissa Pitfield – everyday is different!

Melissa-Pitfield_editedI work for National Disability Services in the NSW Companion Card team. Companion Cards are issued to people with a significant disability who are unable to access the community without the assistance of a carer.

My role is to assess whether people are eligible for the card and I also promote the program to disability organisations, service providers and the general community to increase awareness about the program and to assist people to understand and complete applications.

After high school I completed a Bachelor of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy and I knew I was most interested in working with people in a community setting. At first I wasn’t quite clear on what this would involve and was unsure exactly what area I would end up working in.

True Stories: Gail White – The most gratifying career!

An interest and a love of the involvement with disabilities made my decision very easy to make the change to new horizons. The awarding challenges of day to day involvement and being able to help and assist clients is one of the most gratifying experiences I have ever been involved in.

Gail-White_edited

I especially love the way that you are never judged and are taken as you are and for the person that you are. I could never put into words just how great it is to be so welcoming and so easily accepted by the clients that I come into contact with.

True Stories: Bryn Hoskins – Volunteering to employment!

Photo of Bryn Hoskins VolunteeringI work in Frontline Support as a Support Worker at The Mai-Wel Group in Newcastle. Mai-Wel has a Day Centre and offers Community Access programs in Skills Development and Social Participation. In my role, I support individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities to access the community and realise their potential. Never had thought that my volunteering would lead to employment!

Eight years ago I completed a trade as a plant mechanic. I was not satisfied to continue to pursue this trade as my vocation. I worked casually and intermittently for 12 months before having a discussion with a friend about his current volunteer work. I thought it sounded interesting and decided volunteering one day a week was just the thing for me.

After three months of volunteering  I was offered a casual position which quickly grew into a permanent role. I have been with the same employer for seven years now and have never regretted my change in vocation. From the moment I began my volunteering work I knew I had an opportunity to have a profession which was fun, interesting and, most of all, personally satisfying.

Bryn Hoskins

Support Worker

The Mai-Wel Group

True Stories: Brendan O’Connell – e-Inclusion – work or play!

I first started in the disability sector as a casual Residential Support Worker whilst studying and I found it flexible and enjoyable, and it fit in with my lifestyle. The experience I gained in the role also gave me a firm grounding in operations at a service level and it certainly helps me now with understanding some of the challenges people face when living in supported accommodation and accessing services.

I’ve always had an interest in video, editing, photography, and all the associated equipment and technology, and I was first introduced to the concept and benefits of using this medium, as a form of accessible information for people with intellectual disabilities, when I was working in the United Kingdom (which was over a period of 4 years).

True Stories: Sarah Jurd – Speech pathology is my dream job

Sarah JurdI have worked in the disability sector for around 13 years as a Respite Carer, Teacher’s Aide, Community Access Support Worker and Residential Worker. I think it was in my time as a Teacher’s Aide that I realised the level of support required for a child with a disability to access a school curriculum, is far outweighed by the actual amount of support that is out there.

I worked 1-to-1 with a child for 4 years, supporting her in the school I worked at. I found that the teachers were always supportive and willing to do what they could to help her, however they were often left at a loss as to where to go with her education, and how they could help her. The training the teachers get doesn’t always cover all the specific needs that each child might have. I felt frustrated, because quite often I also had no idea of what I could do to help the child I was working with.