The Disability Trust

True Stories: Tennille Owen – My first official employment!

Tenneille OwensI have been working as an Administrative Assistant for the Sport and Recreation Services department of The Disability Trust since August 2011. So far I have found it very enjoyable. My fellow colleagues in the service have been helpful with every aspect of the job from filing, photocopying and mailing. This is my first official office employment, after finishing my Certificate II in Business (I’m still studying Certificate III in Business Administration).

I was a little wary walking in but everyone has been very friendly, encouraging and understanding.

I have always wanted to do something to help the community, especially people who are disadvantaged in

True Stories: Ryan Kiddle – Combine my skills and love of sport

Ryan-KiddleIf you had asked me 10 years ago if I would be working in the disability sector, my answer most likely would have been no. I grew up on the south coast of NSW and people with disability were not a big part of my life.

I was studying for my Bachelor of Education at the University of Wollongong with a focus on Physical Education, at the same time I started as a casual with Sport & Recreation Services at The Disability Trust. On my first day I was awestruck and new to it all, but today I’m one of the managers and look after a team of 75 casuals and 5 permanent staff.

True Stories: Matthew Martin – I still wake up and skip out of bed every morning!

Matthew MartinWhen I was in my third year of a Bachelor of Arts I was doing a research subject which led me to complete a project on job satisfaction with staff at a disability services organisation. It sparked an interest in me and I ended up getting a frontline position at the House With No Steps.

That was in 1993 and since then I’ve remained in the sector, working predominantly in the Wollongong area. In 1997 I started working at The Disability Trust where I still am today. Initially I was an Employment Consultant with Workskills Illawarra and then I worked at Illawarra Vocational Services – just some of the services the organisation provides in the area.

True Stories: Nathan Christopher – Enjoying seeing clients happy as a result of our service

Nathan ChristopherI’ve worked in the sector for 4 years now and I’m currently a Project Officer for the Respite and In-Home Care Team at The Disability Trust. The service is based in Nowra and we provide in-home support to clients with disabilities throughout the Shoalhaven area.

My job is to coordinate and provide support to the care staff who visit clients in their homes. We have about 21 clients with a range of support needs, and a number of care staff.

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.