True Stories

True Stories: Paul Drewitt – Know WHY you do what you do

Paul DrewittI began my teaching career as a Primary School teacher but quickly became involved in special needs education to advocate for children with learning disabilities in order to access more of the curriculum. From the onset I took a keen interest in developing Education Adjustment Plans and leading teachers in processes to make modifications to their programs to meet the needs of students with intellectual impairments.

10 years ago I came to Henbury Special School as a teacher and quickly established a classroom routine, meeting outcomes to facilitate independent living skills. In particular, I have taken an interest in frontier augmentation techniques including introducing eye gaze technology to the NT.

To know WHY you do what you do is the key to remaining motivated and having an impact beyond the norm. I was very lucky early on to understand this, which keeps me pushing forward each day to develop new ways of meeting outcomes for students with disabilities.

I am now in a leadership role and realize that leadership is primarily about change and having the courage to push through and implement that change which directly benefits children with intellectual and/or physical disabilities.

Paul works as a Senior Teacher – Curriculum, Assessment & Reporting in Darwin, NT

Pauls’ employer:

Henbury School is a purpose built Special School for students with disabilities in both the Middle Years and Senior Years of schooling.

Classrooms are complex, dynamic in nature and multi-level according to how students access the curriculum. Henbury’s Motto is ‘Preparing for Future Lifestyles’ and this overarching dedication guides each student’s annual Education Adjustment Plan or Transition Plan.

As well as its main campus the school also has students learning in outreach classrooms which are based at Casuarina Senior College, Darwin High School, Sanderson Middle School, Dripstone Middle School and Nightcliff Middle School.

Henbury School also strongly supports student learning via valuable community partnerships with the school house, the Op Shop, The Patch and a number of business enterprises and leisure venues around Darwin.

True Stories: Sunil “The pursuit of happiness”

Sunil Bhakri Ceo

The Pursuit of Happiness

Having been in recruitment my whole career and ran two successful businesses, in 2012 my wife and I decided to start our own aged and disability care service organisation, ADS Care. She had already been in the industry for 4 years and her dedication, professionalism and caring approach convinced me she should have the freedom to run an aged and disability care service the way she wants.

Initially I was in the background mainly assisting with non-operational tasks, such as websites, attending seminars and conferences, recruitment etc. As with most start-ups the first few years were very tough in terms of generating an income while maintaining our values of high quality care, individual choice and re-enforcing the values of participants.

As we grew I found my self spending nearly 100% of my time on day to day activities which involved training and mentoring support workers on the field. This is where I achieve my greatest satisfaction,

One example I always like to share is that 2.5 years ago we were supporting a 13 year old boy with Down syndrome. Although he has a beautiful heart he was prone to absconding, hitting, self-harm and general non-conformity issues. However we persevered and learnt more about his needs and wants.

I have supported him for approximate 100 hours without charge over this period in conjunction with his key support workers. Now 2.5 years on he has stopped hitting, never absconds, is active in the community and it is pleasure to be around him as we listen to his music and disco dance.

This participant has changed my life because after 25 years I now know what I was meant to do in my life. Although I am the CEO of ADS Care I am very hands on and relish the opportunity to play a  part in the development or progress of people who need care.

This is a hard yet rewarding industry and I appreciate it more with each passing day and thank Care Careers for letting me share this life changing story.

Sunil Bhakri CEO

ADS Care

ADS Care operates across the Greater Western Sydney area.

Mariam Hussein – Building relationships and careers

Mariam

I get bored easily, so when considering university degrees, I wanted to do something broad so my options weren’t limited when it came to careers. As such, I did a Bachelor of Business and majored in marketing. I am able to use the skills I learnt at uni, such as building and developing relationships and marketing in my job as an Employment Consultant with Afford Employment. (Which by the way is perfect for me because it is so varied – which means I am never bored!)

A key part of my role is relationship building. I have to build and maintain a network of employers across all industries, which then allows me to offer my clients more choice of jobs. I constantly look for new opportunities to develop new contacts and meet new people. From when I’m shopping, eating out or even visiting the mechanic, I’ll strike up a conversation and foster a relationship so that in the future I can hopefully secure a job for one of my clients.

My clients range in age and gender, and are also people with disability. Some have had troubled lives, lack trust and are very vulnerable. As such, I work extremely hard to develop a good rapport with my clients so they know that I am always here for them, that I will do my best to support them.

I split my day in half. I tend to spend the morning in the office, tending to emails, meeting with clients, helping them with job applications and resumes. Then in the afternoon I’ll hit the road to check in on my clients in jobs, provide training or have meetings with employers.

The best part of my job is seeing someone grow and develop. I have one client who has flourished. When he came to me he was so shy and this prevented him from communicating. I support him through a retail course and assist him to find a job in a shop stacking shelves. As his confidence built, he started talking to and assisting shoppers and now his confidence has grown so much he works on the check out. Knowing that I supported him to overcome his barriers is incredibly rewarding.

Mariam Hussein
Employment Consultant DES, ES6
Afford Employment

Maria Esguerra – Positive work for positive outcomes

Some people might think it a little odd, but one of my personal interests is reading up on psychology research. I find journal articles and current research on employment and mental health, as well as on integrated employment programs. Not only do I find it fascinating, it also helps me expand my professional knowledge for work.

Maria E

I’m a Job Development Officer for CPL Mylestones Employment. I have 30 people in my caseload and my role includes supporting people with disability and mental health concerns to become job ready. This may involve creating a resume, organising appropriate training and study for them, and developing their interview skills. Then, I source an ideal job for them based on their needs and interests and provide ongoing on-the-job support for them as well as the employer. In addition to this, I spend a lot of time connecting with and liaising with my clients’ carers, case managers, doctors and psychologists to keep them abreast of the clients’ career progress, and to also for me to learn how their new job is gelling with their home life and treatment. The ultimate aim for each client is that within a year, they will be independently job ready and won’t need the support of CPL Mylestones Employment to find and maintain work. While many people are able to achieve this, there are some that will need long-term ongoing support.

My Bachelor of Psychology and training in mental health definitely helps me on the job. I have always been interested in human behaviour, helping people and being able to give back to the community. My education and training is vital for work, where I am working with people with mental health concerns. It helps me to better understand them, spot their behaviour patterns, pick up on signs and symptoms of certain conditions, and it also helps me to find the right role for each person.

The highlight of my role is seeing the positive impact that getting a job in a good working environment makes on my clients. Their confidence increases, as does their overall life satisfaction as they realise that they are an important and valuable part of society.

Maria Esguerra
Job Development Officer, ES8
CPL Mylestones Employment

Natalie Morton – Creative work with innovative results

natalie_mortonI’ve worked in the health field as a social worker for 30 years now. I’ve worked as an individual, couple and family therapist in community health settings and private practice.

I also worked part-time for 11 years at TAFE teaching in the community services modules. Eight years ago, I started working as an external consultant for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance. Through this role, I discovered the disability sector, an area that I had never specifically worked in before.

The longer I worked at Cerebral Palsy Alliance and heard more people’s stories, the more engaged I became with the organisation and the work they did. I moved from being an external consultant to a permanent consultant for Social Work at Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

I am the clinical leader for social work and support the organisation through training, supervision and mentoring and general consultancy. Typically the consultancy has to do with procedures and policies, service process and new initiatives that relate to client and carer wellbeing.

Currently, I’m also completing a Masters in Narrative Therapy and Community Work, which is a wonderful therapy in supporting clients to make long term changes in their lives and to see themselves differently.

I’m excited about continuing to use this new knowledge and techniques to support the social and emotional wellbeing of Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s clients.

The ultimate reward of my job is working with clients. But I also love being able to be creative and think outside the box with both clients and staff.

I have the precious opportunity to learn from the other social workers (each of who have unique and special skills) in my team and this inspires me to be even more creative and innovative in my work.

The biggest challenge I face is managing the variety and busyness of the role. I try to overcome this by planning my diary effectively and saying ‘no’ when I realistically can’t do any more work.

I’m definitely time poor, but I’m opportunity rich, which makes my work all the more interesting.

I’m a better person for working in the disability sector at Cerebral Palsy Alliance. I’ve learnt to see people for who they truly are.

Natalie Morton
Consultant for Social Work, SPS10
Cerebral Palsy Alliance