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A carecareers TV program aired in regional NSW, showcasing frontline support workers working in the disability sector.
Read their interviews below to discover the rewards and benefits of a care career.
Helen is a Part Time Disability Support Worker with On-Focus in Lismore. She also works with the NSW Fire Brigade and is a mother of two children.
Does working Part Time in the disability sector gives you time to do all three of your roles?
It does. It gives me great flexibility. It allows me to be at home of a morning with my children to get them ready for school and their daily activities.
I then go to work and do my job and then I’m home again for the kids in the afternoon to go through what they’ve done and experienced for the day. And then of course, with nights and weekends I get to work for the fire brigade.
Was there something that really surprised you about the job, that you hadn’t expected?
Just the diversity between each of the clients and how their needs are all individual. Every day is different, it’s not the same routine every day. We have a different day every day which makes it really interesting to come to work because you just don’t know what you’re going to be up for.
What are some of the goals that your clients have?
We have one client who has the goal of catching a bus independently. We have another client whose goal was to get his drivers licence and we have just achieved that with him, which was a very amazing process to go through.
We have other clients who have wanted to transition from living at home to living by themselves in the community, and we’ve just achieved that for another young client.
Meet Bree, Jeremy and Cassie
Bree, Jeremy and Cassie are Disability Support Workers with Greenacres Disability Services in Wollongong.
Bree was working in a call centre before getting her job at Greenacres, Jeremy has been in the sector for 21 years and Cassie made the move to her current role while studying psychology.
Did you have any qualifications before getting this job?
No, I had come from a completely different industry. I was fortunate enough to step in and they gave me all the training that I needed. I’ve got my Certificate III and IV in Disability now.
What would you say to someone who is looking to get into this type of career?
I guess it’s not what you see on the outside. Being on the inside, it’s completely different. It’s a fun environment and I work really well with my guys. I get a lot of support from my team as well - it’s pretty cool.
What are some of the things you’ve learnt?
It sounds very obvious, but patience is the biggest thing I’ve learnt. I never really realised how impatient I was. That is one thing in this industry you do need - patience.
Can you tell us what happens where you work?
This particular site is a community participation program so we try and do as many things as we can out in the community, rather than having centre based programs. We like to be out and about, keeping busy. We do everything from drama to bowling, to going to cafes.
What do you love about your job?
I think it’s the interaction with the guys and having a good team of staff – people to bounce your ideas off and have some fun with.
As a team leader, what do you look for in team members?
It’s mostly about personality - what the person’s like. One of our staff members was a walk up off the street. She made a phone call to me and asked if she could come and talk to me about it. I just got a really good vibe about her and she’s one of the better workers that we have in the team at Greenacres.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into your role?
I started out like anybody else I suppose. After school I was doing a few jobs here and there while I was trying to get myself through uni. I was doing psychology at the time and I ended up having a child while I was at uni, so instead of sticking to the psychology path, I decided that I needed to go out and get a job, and I could see that disability was a great way for me to use my behaviour management skills that I’d already built up and learnt.
So what is it that keeps you here and out of psychology?
I still feel like I’m making a difference here. I can put in and I can get back from the guys. We set their goals together and we implement strategies together. I get to see them achieve their goals and I think what’s more important and better than that, is that when you see them acknowledge their own achievements. You can’t express to people how amazing it is to be a part of that process with someone.
Can you tell us about some of your team?
They’re a great team of people. I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Honestly, they give each other support and they’re diverse, which I think is very important for our service users. We have a broad range of people that come to the service and I think it’s very important that as a team you are also offering a broad range of people to assist them and provide support.
When you get to work with a team of people like that, by sharing all of those experiences together, you create such a strong bond. I don’t think that’s something you would be able to easily find in another industry.