True Stories: Ann Gaudion – The many hats of support workers

Ann-Gaudion_edited The many hats of support workers

I moved to Wagga Wagga around 3 years ago to support my partner in a career progression opportunity and to be closer to family. For me, this meant starting again with finding new employment.

My previous employment history had been varied and I had worked in numerous different industries. I grew up on a fruit orchard and worked on the family farm packing fruit, and then later on I ran the family owned produce store. I worked in customer service for Zoos Victoria and then operated my own dog grooming business, and I also worked Part Time at Woolworths for 5 years.

For a large part of my working life I also worked as a professional horse riding coach and I trained and competed with horses to a high competition level.

When I came to Wagga I got a transfer to Woolworths and then tried telemarketing, which was not for me. I picked up our local newspaper one day and read a job advertisement for support workers. The thing that caught my eye was the heading ‘Do you have life experiences?’

I rang the contact number, discussed the position and applied for the job. As I had no idea what the role was going to be I researched community support worker on the web and thought, hey I can do this!

Until I started my training I didn’t realise how many hats a support worker has. It was overwhelming at first and it was a lot to take in, but after I settled in I realised that being a support worker was something that I really enjoyed. It’s an important role with lots of duties, including:

  • Assisting clients with their health needs, administering medications and supporting them with medical appointments
  • Supporting clients with personal care and hygiene
  • Supporting clients with their regular household chores and cooking , grocery shopping and buying clothes
  • Being part of putting together an Individual Lifestyle Plan, where the client is supported to make their own choices in life and to set short and long term goals to help them lead a fulfilling life
  • Empowering clients to go out into the community and be involved in social and recreational activities
  • Advocating for clients and reporting incidents or changes in their health and well being
  • Help to establish, implement and monitor Behavior Management Plans
  • Communicating with families and friends and helping clients to build and keep relationships
  • Support clients in money management, attending work and day services

Now I’m 3 years in and have gone from being a Support Worker to Team Leader of the Adult Accommodation Service with Kurrajong Waratah, which is more of an administration role co-coordinating a group of support workers to carry out their duties. Soon, I will be taking on a new position as Team Leader for our Community Living, Children’s Services and Respite programs.

I think the most rewarding part of my job is knowing that I can and I am making a difference in other people’s lives. To me, its all about supporting people with disabilities, to help them lead a fulfilling life and to have the right to the same choices as every other person.

I have been excited by and have enjoyed every position I have held so far in this sector and I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my career. For the first time in my life I feel like I am achieving my goal of having a worthy and rewarding career

Ann Gaudion

Team Leader

Adult Accommodation Service

Kurrajong Waratah

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