Support Worker

True Stories: Tracey Sherwin – Every day is different and extremely rewarding

Tracey SherwinJust a few hours after arriving in Australia with my family as an immigrant from the United Kingdom, I spotted a job ad in the newspaper for a role at Sunshine. I had worked with people with intellectual and physical disabilities in the UK so I was ready and willing.

I remember thinking when I walked into Sunshine for the interview, “I need to be here. I want this job.” Within a week of landing in Australia I had got the job and I am still here 5 years later.

I was a Direct Support Worker for 1.5 years and then I became a Team Leader, but that only lasted 6 weeks because I was then promoted to my current role as the Coordinator of Community Access Programs (Frenchs Forest ). Then in mid 2009, Sunshine won a tender for our Community Access Program (St Ives) and I was offered the role of coordinating that service also. I was happy to accept the great opportunity.

True Stories: Mark Perkovic – I value the diversity in my role

Mark PerkovicI grew up with my cousin who is autistic and even from that age I could see how challenging it was for him to get involved in the community. I studied Human Resources at university and before getting into a corporate environment I decided to work in the not-for-profit sector for a while…but I haven’t left it.

What I love about the current job I have at Workskills Illawarra is that there isn’t a typical day. As an Employment Consultant I have great flexibility which allows me to regularly meet new people, learn new information and go to new places.

Workskills, which is part of The Disability Trust, places people in a variety of roles from job trials to apprenticeships, casual, part time and full time positions. In its simplest form, my efforts are around helping people with disabilities to find employment.

True Stories: Steve Smith – helping people to achieve their goals

Lawn mowing and landscaping in the IllawarraSteve Smith

I entered the disability sector after many years in the motor trades and heavy industry, basically doing the same thing day in and day out.  I started to think that there must be more to life and a friend of mine was happily working at Illawarra Vocational Services (IVS), so I enquired with them.

I ended up starting as a casual and soon after I became a full time staff member – that was more than 17 years ago!

My day to day role at IVS is to take a crew of 4-5 supported employees into the open work environment to do lawn maintenance, landscaping and general maintenance jobs for different companies in the Illawarra area. I am one of 8 supervisors who work with our 44 supported employees – a few of whom have been working at IVS for 20 years.

When we are out for the day I teach the employees new skills in completing the jobs we need to do and I also help to hone the skills they already have. These kinds of jobs include lawn mowing, line trimming and general garden maintenance, with an emphasis on safety.