Meet Joanne, Disability Support Worker

25 November 2019

I felt so proud – I was over the moon and was happy I could finally say I had a job!

Joanne was a candidate registered with our partner company Joblife Employment – a Disability Employment Provider who help people with disabilities look for work.

After being out of work for 10 years, the opportunity to undertake a Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) came her way, this was the beginning of her journey to becoming a Disability Support Worker (DSW) with Life Without Barriers.

“I had been looking for work and had applied for jobs online. Being a stay at home mum, and having been out of work for so many years, I felt I didn’t have any recent skills or experience for work. When I didn’t hear back about jobs, it was disappointing, but I would pick myself up and continue to apply over and over again.

Life Without Barriers identified a gap in attracting suitable candidates for Disability Support Work on the NSW Central Coast.

They devised a plan with Joblife to offer tailored training and work placement to job-seekers interested in working in Disability Support.

“When Sammie from Joblife approached me about the course, I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I have a mild intellectual disability which makes learning, reading and writing difficult for me at times.”

“But the course was just fantastic – I met some really amazing people and had a lot of support. Two days a week we would train in the classroom, and three days a week we would do our work-placement at the Day Programs.

“My first day at the Day Program was busy – I’d never seen anything like it. It was a bit overwhelming at first, but once it settled down and we met the clients, it was great.

"They made me smile and made my day – I had a ball there.

“When I finished my 120 hours of work placement, Sharon the boss of the day program told me I should put in my resume and apply for a job there. I did a group interview session and then a one-on-one interview.”

“I was so nervous and was sure I had stuffed it up. I wasn’t confident at all, but then I got a phone call a couple of weeks later saying I got the job! I felt so proud – I was over the moon and was happy I could finally say I had a job!

“Now I’m working and I love it. Working at Life Without Barriers, it’s actually brought me out of my shell. I’m more confident, talk a lot more and I dance – they have a Dancing Day at the centre – and I wouldn’t normally dance but now I dance all the time! Getting up and dancing with the clients, showing them that you can do it is fun, but also rewarding.

“It makes the clients’ day, and makes my day as well!”

“Life Without Barriers have been very supportive of my disability. They know I still struggle at times with some aspects of reading and writing. They’ve told me ‘don’t worry about it, just take your time and if you have any questions or not sure of anything, don’t hesitate to ask.'

“My writing has improved – I write all the time now! Every day I need to fill out reports as part of my job, and my reading and writing is a lot better!"

Joanne says employers can play a bigger role in helping people with disability into work.

“Just keep getting to know people and what they can do. And support them!”

At Life Without Barriers, our doors are always open to people with disability. We are proud to be an accredited Disability Confident Recruiter through the Australian Network on Disability (AND). This means we are unequivocally committed to ensuring our recruitment and selection processes are accessible to people with disability. If you’re interested in joining our team, sign up here to receive our job alerts.

Looking for disability support?

We provide a number of accommodation and lifestyle supports for people with disability