From Dental Assistant to Support Worker

Read about Leeanne’s life change with Mai-Wel

Leeanne, originally from the outskirts of Southern Sydney, had been working as a Dental Assistant for 20 years. After moving to a farm near to Singleton, Leeanne found herself living the dream country life. When a friend suggested Leeanne look into becoming a Support Worker with Mai-Wel, Leeanne took the leap. Despite initially having no experience, four years later she is still enjoying this journey.

Leeanne works with our Supported Independent Living participants and is passionate about being a Support Worker.

“Being a support worker, for me, means paying it forward. I have no siblings and if I did, I would want my family to be supported the way that I support them,” said Leeanne.

Being a support worker is a role which can vary day-to-day but no matter the task you’re provided an opportunity to assist an individual to achieve their dreams, whether that might be performing on stage, riding in a hot air balloon through to the simple everyday tasks like learning to take public transport independently.

“I help people with ordinary, everyday tasks that we sometimes take for granted. The success for me is when I watch the person I support require less and less support and can do things independently. For example, when we used to have to do withdrawals from the bank and had to use the paper slips, I supported someone to fill in the slips. So that this person could achieve this task on their own, we took a bunch of the slips home and practiced. This person felt comfortable in their own home and had no pressure, so when it came to doing it at the bank in person, they felt prepared.

“That’s what I like about my job; helping people build their confidence to do the everyday life skills,” said Leeanne.

“My days working in Supported Independent Living vary depending on the shift and the individuals goals and agenda for the day. If there are medical appointments, I pull out the diary and show them what is on for the day. Once the respect and trust is built, I help and motivate the individual to achieve the tasks they want to do.”

When changing careers in her late 40’s, Leeanne acknowledges that she didn’t come prepared with training and wasn’t from the disability sector but loved that it offered a rewarding role and one with flexibility.

“We are heading to Tocal Field Days this weekend. If I was in a 9-5 job, I couldn’t earn my living and continue to pursue my dreams on the farm. I am fortunate in my role where I can work extra hours when I have time, and as long as I’ve given notice, I can get flexibility. It’s a two-way street to respect this.”

We asked Leeanne if she would recommend becoming a support worker to others and she said, “it’s very rewarding. It takes a little while to hit your stride, but every day is different and you’re always learning. It’s very satisfying work.”

Pictured: Leeanne says the flexibility afforded to her at Mai-Wel has allowed her to continue to pursue her dreams on her farm. Check out some pictures of Leeanne and her animals above!