Disability support work provides a meaningful career

person standing in a garden with pants and a jumper on, he is smiling with his hands in his pockets.

Disability support work provides a meaningful, long term career.

Justin Denholm has been a disability support worker for 23 years – and now mentors those starting out in the role.

He works at Caylea, an MAIB funded facility in southern Tasmania where Anglicare provides daily support to people with injuries resulting from a motor vehicle accident.

Justin is impressed by the calibre of the disability support workers Anglicare is recruiting and investing in. “Anglicare offers full-time, permanent roles and lots of training opportunities,” he says. “The newer ones who’ve come on board at Caylea are absolutely fantastic – they’ve taken to it like a duck to water. They work hard and are really good with the clients. They are easy to get on with and I enjoy working with them.”

Justin knows the importance of good teamwork.

He started his career in aged care as a support worker in a residential facility. “I was young and there were six ladies working there who took me under their wing,” he says. “They taught me to have a sense of humour, and to keep my chin up. I’ve tried to carry on that approach.”

As Justin describes the interests and daily routines of the residents at Caylea, it’s clear he knows each person very well. Training courses have also deepened his understanding of acquired brain injury, and how best to support people adjusting to life after a serious road accident.

“Over the years I have seen a lot of sadness and a lot of triumph, with clients moving ahead in life,” he says. ““There have been challenges and anxious moments for sure. I think it helps that I am really dogged and don’t like things to get the better of me.”

Justin says Anglicare team members are committed to ‘active support’, encouraging clients to contribute to regular tasks like washing and cooking. “We get people involved to the best of their ability,” he said. “It’s all about trying things and enjoying the interaction.”

He finds it rewarding to see people increase their independence and skills.

The Caylea team supports residents to attend appointments and participate in social activities. “There are things in the diary every day – like swimming or therapy,” says Justin. “There are also opportunities to do things like go to the footy or cricket, attend a concert.”

Justin says he’s always found Anglicare to be really supportive.

“I’ve chosen to stay at Caylea because I know what I’m doing, I enjoy the people I work with, and I like that there is time to talk with the residents and have a laugh,” he said. “The work is a lot more satisfying than the helter skelter of a nursing home.

“I aim to be a happy soul. I’d definitely encourage anyone thinking about disability support work to give it a go. You have to have fresh faces coming up who are enthusiastic, but I think it’s very important to be matched with the right client, to have some common ground,” he said.

You have to have a really caring nature, be flexible, and have heaps of patience. You can’t be super sensitive.

Sometimes the work is challenging, but if you see it through then it comes out good at the other end.


If you think a career in disability support could be for you, check out Anglicare’s careers page for more information.



To see the latest Disability Support Worker positions being advertised visit – https://anglicaretas.bigredsky.com/

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