Life Experience an Asset in Community Services
29 May 2020
An ability to relate to people of all ages, abilities and walks of life is an essential skill for a Support Worker. In our experience, mature workers have much to contribute in this respect, often having the life experience and emotional intelligence to connect well with our clients.
Undertaking new study or changing career paths later in life, however, can be stressful for many reasons. Aspiring Support Worker, Megan, is just one example of someone who is overcoming their fears to make a career change that will see her contribute in a meaningful way to the community.
Already interested in a career change, Megan saw the offer Assured sent out to workers to upgrade their skills to the Cert IV Disability as part of a collaboration with ETEA training and the SA Government.
“I wanted to do it to get involved with helping people more than just simply cleaning their houses,” she says.
However, due to COVID-19 restrictions the first half of her course work would have to be completed remotely.
As a mature student with very limited experience using a computer, Megan wasn’t sure if online study was for her.
‘Full of fear’
“I didn't think it was possible for me. I'd never used a laptop in my life before,” she says.
After voicing her concerns to Assured and ETEA, “They encouraged me to go ahead,” she says.
“They let me know that I am not on my own in having no computer knowledge and that other people in a similar situation have succeeded with this.”
Despite her concerns and intimidated by using unfamiliar technology, Megan took the plunge and went out and bought a laptop.
With the purchase complete, she took it straight to the people she knew could help her best, her adult children.
“I’d set myself up in either my son or daughter’s house,” she says.
“They taught me how to set it [the laptop] up, how to access the course, and now, 4 weeks down the track, I've mastered the computer and am successfully completing my studies.”
“Something I didn't think was possible!”
For anyone undertaking study, having a strong support network is invaluable.
Megan now feels confident using her laptop and admits she could study at home.
“I actually feel capable enough now to get my son to set up WiFi at my own house...but, maybe not just yet,” she says.
“Studying at my children’s houses, I can also enjoy their company and spend time with my grandchildren.”
Our Support Workers come from all sorts of backgrounds.
As an essential service, the disability and aged care support sector continues to grow, despite global uncertainty around COVID-19. This means we are regularly looking to hire and train new support workers to help us in providing assistance to some of the most vulnerable people in our community.
For organisations like Assured, staff diversity is an asset as it means we are better able to match clients to support workers who can connect with them socially, as well as meet their needs physically.
Receiving support is a very personal experience so being able to connect with someone of a similar age with similar interests, someone they can relate to, even for only a few hours a week, can make a huge difference to the general wellbeing of our clients.
This is just one of the reasons we like to encourage interested people to transition to support work at any stage of life. No matter what obstacles, perceived or otherwise, may stand in the way.
Megan, for one, is certainly glad she challenged herself.
“I've proved all my fears wrong,” she says.
“You can learn anything at any age. You just need to have a go.”
If you’re interested in a career change and willing to challenge yourself like Megan, ETEA are now taking expressions of interest for their next round of study.
Visit the ETEA website to find out more: