From Disability Support Worker to Specialist Behaviour Support Practitioner: How Erin’s career started at Yooralla

Erin, who started her career at Yooralla as a Disability Support Worker before joining the Specialist Behaviour Support team, talks us through her career journey.

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Erin started her career journey working as a Disability Support Worker (DSW), where she supported customers to get out and about in the community.

After finishing her undergraduate and post graduate psychology studies, Erin successfully applied for and joined Yooralla’s Specialist Behaviour Support (SBS) team where she continues to support the clients she works with to help improve their quality of life.

She talked us through her career journey and some of the highlights of her time as a Disability Support Worker including how she is enjoying her new role and what is involved.

Read more from Erin below.

What’s been your career journey to date?

I started off working in a café near one of the Yooralla Community Hubs. We had a lot of the Yooralla customers come in, as well as a group meet in our back room before Art Circle. I was part way through studying a psychology degree at the time and thought this looked like a more meaningful and relevant career.

After working [as a Disability Support Worker] for several years while finishing my degree, I wanted to move into a role where I could help families and support staff to understand how to best assist the people they work with and help improve their wellbeing.

Having worked with several clients with Positive Behaviour Support Plans, I had noticed that a good plan and support could make a huge difference in the quality of life for both the person with the disability and the support network around them. Moving into the Specialist Behaviour Support team meant that I could help provide this support to clients and their support networks.

What are the top 5 things you liked about being a Disability Support Worker?

  1. Establishing connections with a huge range of different people, and hearing about their lives and stories.
  2. Assisting people to access the things they love but cannot do without support. For example, taking a client rollerblading, who used to go every weekend with his father but hadn’t been able to since his father had become unwell.
  3. Supporting clients to have new experiences. Some experiences may end up being enjoyed more than others, but I liked being able to support people to try new things and explore new interests. This could mean helping somebody bake muffins for the first time or go bowling.
  4. Variety of work. I enjoyed having diversity in my workday, each shift could involve something very different- cleaning, mini golf, personal care, going to the zoo or having a chat over a cup of tea.
  5. Flexibility. As I was studying while working, this role enabled me to pick up shifts that worked around my university timetable.

What type of person would this job typically appeal to?

Working in Community Inclusion would suit someone who is able to adapt to different situations, is respectful and hard-working. The role provides flexibility and a diverse range of day-to-day responsibility and is a good job for somebody who likes being able to make a meaningful contribution to the lives of others.

What are the most rewarding aspects of your new role in the Specialist Behaviour Support team?

The most rewarding aspect of my new role is being able to help facilitate improvements in the quality of life for our clients. I enjoy the combination of analysis/investigation with person-centered interactions. It’s rewarding to see the changes that well-informed practice can make for our clients and their support network. It is fulfilling when clients are able to have increased access to the community and reduced restrictions around their lives due to implementation of positive behaviour support strategies.

The SBS team at Yooralla is also an incredibly supportive and knowledgeable group of people who are always providing advice, encouragement, and supervision.

Describe a typical day in your current SBS role

Within Specialist Behaviour Support, there is no typical day. Work can vary from home visits and observations, to psychoeducation, assessments, report writing or attending care team meetings. Work includes resource development, data collection and liaising with other supports involved with the client.

You can find yourself visiting clients at school or day services, in their own home or over telehealth. In addition to one-on-one work with clients, you may be providing client specific family/staff training and support, or general training in Positive Behaviour Support to Yooralla staff.

Are you interested in starting your career with Yooralla?

We have a variety of roles available across our wide range of services. View all of our current vacancies.

Until 30 June 2022, Yooralla is offering financial bonuses for any established allied health therapist, registered nurse, psychologist or established specialist behaviour support practitioner who joins our experienced, supportive team.

You will receive a $1,500 (gross) bonus paid on commencement of your employment in an eligible role with Yooralla, and you’ll receive a further $1,500 (gross) on successful completion of probation. The person who referred you will also receive $1,500 (gross) as a thank you for referring you so it’s a win, win!

This applies to all applications for eligible roles received by 30 June 2022.

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