Caption: Shelley with her dog, Lou-Lou
In less than a year working with people with disability, Shelley, in her mid-20s, has found her groove and settled into her new career as a Disability Support Worker at Multicap’s Supported Independent Living (SIL) home in Helensvale.
Shelley grew up in a large family in Victoria and after moving to Queensland in late 2020 she conquered her fears in pursuit of a more rewarding career in the disability industry.
“I always wanted to work in the disability industry, but I didn’t have the confidence to take the leap from administration and hospitality positions,” Shelley said. “I feared that it might be a daunting job and that I would need to be physically strong to be able to support customers with challenging behaviours.
“I have been pleasantly surprised that the work has been a breeze – it’s been fun and so rewarding.
“Now that I have gained experience as a Disability Support Worker (DSW), I realise the basics that you need to do the job include being patient, approachable, friendly, kind and caring.”
Shelley explains that the support she received when she first started in the role made all the difference.
“I’m so fortunate to work with such amazing co-workers. From my first day, I have been watching and learning how they interact with customers, particularly in difficult situations and they really are a group of people that I admire and respect,” she said.
Originally, Shelley commenced work supporting customers at Multicap’s Robina Hub and then had the opportunity to work in SIL homes where she enjoyed building relationships with the customers.
“I really enjoy seeing my regular customers and have a lot of fun with them. One of my customers who I spend 20 hours a fortnight with has recently moved out of home for the first time which has been a difficult change for his mum, so we recorded our carpool karaoke and sent it to her to watch. She later told me that she often plays the video to feel better,” said Shelley.
Shelley enjoys road tripping and chilling out in a revamped minibus, reading, and attending live music and comedy shows and is excited that sometimes her personal interests form part of the job.
“No two days are the same when supporting our customers. We have so much flexibility to do fun activities and make our customers dreams a reality, such as going on an Avegates holiday, attending sporting games and concerts.”
Shelley enjoys knowing that there are opportunities to grow into a service manager role at Multicap but for now she is happy where she is.
“I love what I’m doing now. When I learn more about the industry including the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), I will have more confidence to move into a leadership role one day.”