Why Did You Choose To Work With Disability? St Jude’s Staff Share Their Journeys into Disability Work

At St Jude’s, our clients are at the heart of everything we do. In this month’s blog we sat down with some of our hardworking team members to ask them directly what made them choose the pathway into disability support, and how their work positively impacts not only the lives of their clients, but their own.

Lorraine, Manager – Housing & Accommodation

What motivated you to pursue a career in the disability sector and work with NDIS participants?

I enjoy assisting clients to maintain their independence. It is extremely rewarding to watch our clients fulfilling their goals. I came into the disability sector by accident and have found it to be the most rewarding part of my 20+ year nursing career. I look forward to the exciting opportunities and potential challenges that I face in the coming year, and I hope to be able to meet all of my clients’ expectations and continue to be rewarded in a career that makes me smile every day!

How do you approach building relationships and fostering trust with people with disability and their families or caregivers?

I find that building trust is a vital component of the client- provider relationship. To be successful in building trust, you must always have open, honest communication with your clients. It is important to keep all commitments that you make to the clients and their families.

Megan, Client Intake Coordinator

What motivated you to pursue a career in the disability sector and work with NDIS participants?

My decision to work in disability services came after many years of working in the aged care sector. I always knew that disability was a great and rewarding sector to be in. After seeing my current role advertised, I decided that I wanted a change and applied for the job, and I’m so grateful I did. I now get to work with NDIS participants from all walks of life with all sorts of challenges and barriers. I now have an appreciation and respect for the wider diverse disability communities and serving them wherever I can. Working in this sector gives me great motivation, joy and purpose. No two days are the same and I continue to grow and learn every day though the participants I get to meet.

What makes you passionate about working in the disability sector?

The ability to have a positive contribution and to assist with a person’s life in a personal, physical, and emotional way, and to see them become more independent and confident in their own abilities.

I am passionate about our communities and the diverse cultures that they make up. It is important to have a sense of community and inclusion which this sector definitely does.

Megan Connolly

Bruna, Client Intake Assistant

What motivated you to pursue a career in the disability sector and work with NDIS participants?

I have always been a people person and very keen to help the community in whichever way I can. After many years working in marketing and sales, I wasn’t very happy and felt that something was missing. I wanted to do something more meaningful and help people, so that’s when I started my bachelor degree in Community Services and began to work within the NDIS sector, and I loved every second of it. I now have motivation to get out of bed every morning knowing that I am contributing to making people’s lives better, and that is very rewarding.

Can you share any personal or professional experiences that have influenced your decision to work with people with disability?

Coming from a very poor country (Brazil), I always wished that I could make a difference in people’s lives. Australia has amazing opportunities for people like me that want to change their careers, and I felt that working with people with disabilities would be an amazing way that I could feel more satisfaction in my life. I feel that working with people with disabilities was something that I was meant to do with my life. My purpose is to help them, and try to improve their quality of life day by day.

Bruna Putti De Azevedo

Chloe, Facilities Manager

What motivated you to pursue a career in the disability sector and work with NDIS participants?

I have always enjoyed working with people, and have worked in various roles within the community services sector. Working with NDIS participants has been one of my favourite roles so far, from support work to my current role as Facilities Manager. The interactions and stories that you hear and get to be a part of are inspiring. Working with the most vulnerable people in the community and being able to make a difference in their life, even if it is only for a short time, is something that I’m very passionate about.

How have you grown professionally while working in the disability sector?

I began my career in the disability sector as a support worker in accommodation settings, which was very rewarding. I then moved into coordinator roles, leading a team of support workers and overseeing disability accommodation. Recently I was given an opportunity to move into a new role, and I have just recently begun working as a Facilities Manager. I am loving my new role so far!

Chloe Wust

Abbey, Manager – Home & Community

What motivated you to pursue a career in the disability sector and work with NDIS participants?

My background and personal experiences drove my decision to work in the sector. My father had severe PTSD after serving in the army from 18 to 60, and my mother had bipolar disorder. I wanted to better understand the psychology behind these illnesses, and why so many serving members of the defence force had traits of mental illness, mood disorders, and problems socialising.

I am motivated by the people I work with at St Jude’s and in the disability sector, their passion and desire to better understand our clients, and to assist them in their journeys and see them reaching milestones and making achievements. I love being able to contribute to improving our clients’ lives in meaningful ways. For example, a recent client was experiencing pain due to outgrowing her wheelchair and we were able to assist her in getting a better fitting one. It was inspiring to see the improvement to her life that this single item had.

Knowing that I play a part in changing someone’s life in a meaningful way keeps me motivated every day. You can’t solve all the world’s problems, but you can tackle them one client at a time.

Abbey Harris

How do you navigate facing challenges while supporting a person with disability? How do you handle it, and what are the outcomes?

I think that clients can present challenges in different ways. Because NDIS includes clients present with issues of varying types and levels, this can cause significant challenges for staff at times. For me, knowing about the client’s background and how they have come to that point allows us to make the client feel safe, to understand where they are coming from, and how to better support them.

When navigating work with difficult clients safely, you need to understand and show empathy to the client and work towards better understanding where they are coming from. Unfortunately, some of our clients haven’t ever had someone who was there for them to provide support, so we have to be that person for them.

The client recovery process presents a lot of complexities. Their traumas can be helped over time with their therapy teams, and by having a support worker who is there to talk to them and help them to open up. It’s a testament to our services and everyone involved when our clients choose to take a more difficult path of working towards a better, safer life, and more longevity for themselves.

St Jude’s – Genuine support from a team who cares

What stands out from speaking with our exceptional team members is their deep-seated empathy and unrelenting commitment to client support. Their dedication clearly reflects our values at St Jude’s, making a real difference to the lives of those we serve.

Our staff consistently go above and beyond, not only through aiding clients in achieving their individual goals but also providing critical emotional support when needed.

If you’ve been contemplating a career change, or have a long-standing interest in disability support work, joining our team may be an excellent opportunity for you. For current job vacancies, please visit our Employment page.