True Stories

True Stories – Amy Butler

Thanks to trial and error during high school work experience, I knew that when I completed year 12 I wanted to work in an office. I started off as a junior legal assistant in a law firm, working my way up to reception and then into a legal assistant role. After seven years working in the law firm, I felt I needed more variety and also wanted to contribute to an organisation that made a difference to the lives of people who need it most. An opportunity came up at Aspire Support Services, and since I’d only heard good things about Aspire, I applied.

I’ve been Aspire’s Receptionist and Administration Support Officer for the last two years and I love my job. What I particularly enjoy about it is just how people-focused and interactive it is. I get to meet and greet everyone including all the staff and clients, so it gives me the chance to get to know people well.

My role is quite busy. I answer the phones, manage the stationery orders, do some finance work such as taking payments, looking after petty cash and doing the banking, I also have to update files and databases and handle all the mail. Additionally I run Aspire’s newsletter, whereby I coordinate the content, publish it and distribute it.

Up until recently, I’d never had any qualifications in administration, rather I’d learnt everything on the job. I thought it would be useful to do my Certificate 4 in Business – it certainly was! I studied online and had 10 months to complete the government funded course, but I managed to get through it in five months. The training taught me so much, including how to use more computer programs and how to do so more efficiently.

Seeing as I enjoyed studying so much, I think that perhaps I’ll look into gaining additional qualifications in the future. I’ve always been interested in finance and since I do a bit of that in my current role, it might lead to another opportunity at Aspire – which is where I plan to stay.

Amy Butler
Receptionist and Administration Support Officer, CSS2

True Story – Lilly Wicks

True Stories - Lilly Wicks with Nariah

As a new graduate, I wasn’t aware of where my qualifications could take me. 12 years ago I completed an Applied Science degree in speech pathology. Upon graduating I secured an early intervention role at Lifestart. While I’ve been with the organisation ever since, I’ve had the opportunity to change roles every two years, working my way up to my current position as a Professional Services Manager. I think I’ve moved around in the company so much because I was always willing to grab opportunities when they came up.

Having worked in a variety of different roles over the last 12 years has helped me grow and develop, and ultimately helped me to become a better manager and achieve the position I have today. Through my career, I’ve been able to learn to understand people better, discover what motivates them, improve my interpersonal skills so I can connect with others and help them thrive at work, as well as learning how to think and work creatively and implement innovative ideas and strategies.

In my initial role as a speech pathologist, I worked with families and schools. Then I helped facilitate some parent training programs. Next I stepped up to an area manager role where I oversaw a small team and helped support a group of families. I’ve also worked on and coordinated major communication research projects and funded programs. These days, as a Professional Services Manager I develop training for staff, support staff to maintain and build their skills as well as enhancing their professional development. I also have the opportunity to help future professional services specialists by organising practical placements for university students within Lifestart. Additionally, I write policies and learning and development programs in my area of expertise.

A typical day in my working life includes speaking with an educational provider about potential workshops for my staff, developing a webinar on how to set up university student practical placements, creating and uploading clinical resources onto the staff blog, consulting as a speech pathologist specialist, and working as a part of a committee for a large project. Occasionally I still get to do some face-to-face speech pathology work with families, but I’m predominately supporting staff.

Like every role, this one has its challenges such as being time poor, dealing with budgets and ongoing recruitment. But those challenges pale in comparison to the overwhelming positives I encounter, such as seeing staff excited and inspired about their work, and having a front row seat to the positive experiences and progress that Lifestart’s families and staff have.

I’ve been the Professional Services Manager at Lifestart for 18 months now and I can’t see myself anywhere else in the sector just yet, but I imagine when the time comes I’d like to further my involvement in learning and development, technology and research.

Lilly Wicks
Professional Services Manager, SPS 10

True Stories: Nerryl – Prefer to work direct to clients and help families

Nerryl-edited_Occupational-Therapist_ADHCI am an occupational therapist working with school aged children on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. I work with children with a moderate to severe intellectual disability, which is the primary diagnosis to be eligible for ADHC services.

Many of the children also have a physical disability to a greater or lesser degree. This can be as complex as severe cerebral palsy, or something like low muscle tone. Children attend schools for special needs, special classes in mainstream school or are integrated into mainstream classes, or have services provided at home. Children are treated individually or in groups.

True Stories: Tennille Owen – my first official employment!

Tenneille OwensI have been working as an Administrative Assistant for the Sport and Recreation Services department of The Disability Trust since August 2011. So far I have found it very enjoyable. My fellow colleagues in the service have been helpful with every aspect of the job from filing, photocopying and mailing.

This is my first official office employment, after finishing my Certificate II in Business (I’m still studying Certificate III in Business Administration). I was a little wary walking in but everyone has been very friendly, encouraging and understanding.

I have always wanted to do something to help the community, especially people who are disadvantaged in

True Stories: Luke Kent – job is very rewarding!

Luke-Kent_editedMy name is Luke Kent and I’m a Wiradjuri man. My family comes from the Wellington area but I have grown up in the Hunter Valley. I’m a Trainee Assistant in Nursing at a large residential centre at Stockton. I work in an accommodation unit with adults with intellectual disabilities.

I’d heard that Aboriginal Home Care was running a traineeship and people I knew encouraged me to apply. I went for an interview and was offered a traineeship. I completed a Certificate III in Aged Care Work and obtained my driver’s licence, which was fully sponsored as part of the traineeship.