True Stories: Debbie Grant – A job where you learn every day

Debbie Grant web

Many of us easily jump out of bed in the morning, have a shower, brush our teeth and start the day. But for some children and adults with physical disabilities, beginning each day is a little more challenging.

We learn how a CPL Mobile Carer supports people at home and how she’s been improving her skills with the help of a new conference.

CPL provides personal care services in the homes of more than 600 clients in Queensland, helping them with everyday tasks that many of us take for granted.

Debbie Grant is one of CPL’s Mobile Carers, and travels all across Moreton Bay and the Sunshine Coast supporting a range of clients to start their day and get out into the community and live the life they choose.

Debbie has been working in the disability sector with CPL for 18 months and says it’s one of the most rewarding roles she’s ever worked in.

“As a school student, I did some work experience at a school for kids with disabilities and it’s taken me about 30 years to get back to this career,” Debbie said.

“I love my role and I love coming to work every day because I get to meet some amazing people, and hopefully I get to improve their daily life,” she said.

From assisting someone to start their day to meal preparation or taking kids to movies in the school holidays, no two days are ever the same for Debbie.

“Our clients are all individuals and they should be treated as people, not their diagnosis,” Debbie said.

“You shouldn’t just go in and do a task, shower somebody; you’ve got to involve the clients, and you’ve got to show dignity and respect at all times.

“I’ve learnt that, more so now than ever, I need to empower clients to make the choices themselves.”

“It’s a job where you learn every day: I learn from clients; I learn from fellow staff members; I learn from parents of clients.

“I realise that instead of concentrating on their disability, I need to concentrate more on their ability.”

“We need to be providing the best quality service we can; we need to be people-focussed, and we need to provide care that has continuity for our clients.

“Everyone needs to be focused on the person not the disability, but the person as an individual,” she said.

CPL – Choice, Passion, Life


Maria Esguerra – Positive work for positive outcomes

Positive work for positive outcomes!! Some people might think it a little odd, but one of my personal interests is reading up on psychology research. I find journal articles and current research on employment and mental health, as well as on integrated employment programs. Not only do I find it fascinating, it also helps me expand my professional knowledge for work.

Maria E

I’m a Job Development Officer for CPL Mylestones Employment. I have 30 people in my caseload and my role includes supporting people with disability and mental health concerns to become job ready. This may involve creating a resume, organising appropriate training and study for them, and developing their interview skills. Then, I source an ideal job for them based on their needs and interests and provide ongoing on-the-job support for them as well as the employer. In addition to this, I spend a lot of time connecting with and liaising with my clients’ carers, case managers, doctors and psychologists to keep them abreast of the clients’ career progress, and to also for me to learn how their new job is gelling with their home life and treatment. The ultimate aim for each client is that within a year, they will be independently job ready and won’t need the support of CPL Mylestones Employment to find and maintain work. While many people are able to achieve this, there are some that will need long-term ongoing support.

My Bachelor of Psychology and training in mental health definitely helps me on the job. I have always been interested in human behaviour, helping people and being able to give back to the community. My education and training is vital for work, where I am working with people with mental health concerns. It helps me to better understand them, spot their behaviour patterns, pick up on signs and symptoms of certain conditions, and it also helps me to find the right role for each person.

The highlight of my role is seeing the positive impact that getting a job in a good working environment makes on my clients. Their confidence increases, as does their overall life satisfaction as they realise that they are an important and valuable part of society.

Maria Esguerra
Job Development Officer, ES8
CPL Mylestones Employment


True Stories: Kristie Mears – Loving work

When I was 18, I wanted to try something new and have a bit of an adventure. So I moved to Queensland and entered a business administration traineeship. It happened to be for an organisation who supported people with disability to find work.

The traineeship was meant to take me a year to complete, but I managed to do it in just six months. This freed up a lot of my time at work, so I ended up supporting employment case managers. I loved the work and it inspired me to pursue a career working with people with disability.

Upon my return to NSW, I became an Employment Consultant at Mai-Wel LabourForce Solutions. The main part of my role is to assist job seekers who have a disability or mental health challenge to find work.

This might mean organising vocational courses and training for them, supporting them through job readiness programs, establishing work experience for them, developing a resume, organising transport, teaching interviewing skills, and reducing any barriers they may have to gaining employment.

Each day starts off with a 30 minute meeting with my colleagues where we discuss available jobs and what job seekers might suit these roles. Afterwards I follow up on the actions that arose during the meeting, which generally involves sending emails and making phone calls.

The rest of my day is usually spent with job seekers, discussing progress updates, skills development, taking them to their interviews, and supporting them in their work experience appointments.

The most rewarding part of my role is seeing job seekers achieve – and this is different for each person. For one it might be overcoming social anxiety and phobias, for another it might be being able to look at someone when their speaking, making a friend, or it could be getting a client into a course, and helping them find a job.

The hardest part of my role is trying to motivate job seekers who don’t want to change. I try to do that by helping them discover that they can find work in a vocation they love. Doing something you love makes all the difference at work – I speak from experience!

Kristie Mears
Employment Consultant, Mai-Wel LabourForce Solutions, EDS3
The Mai-Wel Group