Sandra is a Support Worker who’s got four top tips for anyone interested in getting into the field. 

Every shift is my best shift ever because every day is different.

I use to be embarrassed to tell people I was a Support Worker because we always seem to get so much bad press. Even the good press has a ‘but’ on the end of it.

But now, I tell them all what I do. Hireup has allowed me to do so much more for my clients such as bike riding, mainstream art classes and organising art exhibitions.

Every three months I review our progress and goals. I write a report for us to look at and see how far we have come. This practice has been fun and useful, as many clients proudly take their progress reports to their NDIS meetings. We’ve got some great feedback, like this report ties everything together and this report gives a clear picture of your day-to-day life.

It keeps my clients and I on track and it gives us a real sense of achievement when we can cross some of the short term goals off the list. The big ones? Well, those are a real cause for celebration, like getting a job and cycling for 10 kilometers.

So, with this in mind, what are my top tips for people starting out as Support Workers?

  1. Spend a lot of time building rapport with your clients and their family. Find common ground. This will help you find a genuine connection. Enjoy your time together, have fun together. Laughter is powerful.
  2. Find out what their super power is. What gives them the most joy in life? Music, Art, Video Games. Help them set goals short and long term to help them achieve their goals.
  3. Consider your biggest job as making yourself redundant. That is, be the person to help your client find their wings and fly. Look at helping build connections with others, develop a social network, help clients find independence and empower them. They are the star and you are the head cheer leader.
  4. Find a good counselor who you can do professional supervision with every 6 -8 weeks. Talk about your job in detail. This is what I’m doing? These are my professional goals with each client? These are the problems I’m having? This is what I do well. How can I do better? Reflection on your job performance is a great tool in improving your practice. Debriefing is like releasing.

Simply, every shift is my best shift. Support Work is Team Work with meaning and purpose. If I have to put up with an initial cringe when I tell people I’m a Support Worker – too bad, so sad. They soon change their facial expression when I tell them what I do. Maybe the mainstream press will catch on some day.

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