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Life as a Disability Support Worker in 2020

Posted 8 months ago

Image 2020 11 30 T05 59 53

​We sat down with Edmen Disability Support Worker, Felicity, to chat to her about her experience working in residential care, her career ambitions and what it’s like to be an essential worker in a year like no other.

Felicity, you’re a star. The team here at Edmen, wish you all the best on your move interstate. You’ll be greatly missed!

Tell us a bit about yourself:

My name’s Felicity Cooper, I’ve been with Edmen for about 18 months now. And I’m a Disability Support Worker.

How did you start out in Disability Support?

I had a couple of friends at my previous company that recommended me, saying that they thought I’d be great for the role. I did on the job training for about 2 weeks, and then went from there.

What do you like most about the job?

No two days are ever the same. You’ll have a really quiet relaxed day one day and then the next day you’ll be running off your feet and you don’t even know what the time is – but I love that.

What type of settings do you usually work in?

For Edmen, right now it’s in-home support. The most residents I work with at any one time is 5, sometimes 6. In my previous role, I worked with larger groups, but I’d say I much prefer working with smaller groups in the residential homes.

What is the most challenging part of your work?

I’m moving to WA in 2 weeks, so I would say saying goodbye to everyone is the most challenging part. Yesterday, I had one resident crying because he didn’t quite understand that I wasn’t come back. So that was heartbreaking, having to explain why I wasn’t coming back, and that he had done nothing wrong. Saying goodbye is hard, very hard. You do get attached.

How did you find working throughout the lockdown?

I worked more throughout COVID. I think we {Disability Support Workers} were one of the few sectors that kept working and were busier than usual. I did have challenging days. Having to explain to people why they couldn’t leave their houses was a bit of a challenge, but overall, it wasn’t too hard. We just had to have more protocols in place, and that’s about it.

What do you like most about working with Edmen?

I would say it’s the work life balance. I’ve had other jobs where if you want to have a day off, they make you feel guilty or if you say 'no' to a shift, they make you feel as if you’re doing them an injustice. But so far at Edmen, if they ask me to do a shift they say “Yep, okay. No problem. If you can’t do it then that’s okay” - there’s no added pressure.

How many hours a week do you typically work with Edmen?

I think the fewest I’ve ever had was about 25 hours (a week). The most I’ve ever had was 43 hours.

Any advice for people wanting to get into Disability Support?

I’d say lose the stigma. Lose the idea that the job only entails washing people and cleaning up after them, because there is a lot of fun to be had with this job. I know before I started working in disability support, I would never have dreamt to do it. Now, I love it – it’s one of my favourite jobs I’ve ever had. I’m now looking at building a career within this. So I’d say, definitely give it a go with an open mind, look at the person for who they are, not what their disability is – that’s a big one that I’ve learnt.


Looking for your next career opportunity in the community service sector? Check out our open roles and join the Edmen crew today.