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.

We might go to a few sites each day and while we are visiting we’re able to interact with some of the staff at each company. They have got to know us over the years.

One of the most important goals of my job is to help our supported employees to achieve their individual goals and to gain confidence, which gives them a better chance of gaining employment in the mainstream workforce.

There is satisfaction for me in that I know I am helping people to achieve their goals with the right training and nurturing of their skills. Seeing a supported employee placed in open employment is also pleasing, to know that I have played a part in their future success.

This career path has also offered me job security and satisfaction, with many opportunities to progress through in-house training and other courses.

Steve Smith

Illawarra Vocational Services

The Disability Trust 

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