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Angela’s Support Worker Journey

Angela’s Support Worker Journey

Angela is a valued Sylvanvale support worker. She also happens to be a wheelchair user.

When Angela first left school, she started out working in desk jobs. But she quickly realised they weren’t for her.

“I was in offices, then a jewellery company and then Centrelink, all of which I hated. I couldn’t stand being based at a desk,” she says.

Angela decided to do a career survey to help her work out what type of job she’d be suited to.

“I did the quiz and it said I’m suited to engaging and interacting with people and helping them. And I was like, “Oh, well I’m not suited to office work.”

Angela did a Diploma in Community Services and decided that a support worker role could be up her alley.

“I like helping people and making a difference. And I wanted to work with people with disabilities. I thought maybe I understand them, having my own disability,” says Angela.

In transitioning from office roles to a care environment, Angela had to prove what she was capable of on the floor before being offered a job. For her first support worker role, Angela was initially told she could come and volunteer. 

Support worker Angela

But by lunchtime on her first day, once the organisation had seen how Angela interacted with the participants, she was offered a paid position as a support worker.

“They told me, “The way you speak to the clients and interact with them is very good,” explains Angela.

She loved the job so much that she stayed at the organisation for 18 years, and even met her husband there.

In 2019, looking for a new opportunity, Angela applied for a role at Sylvanvale.

“I’d heard that it’s a good company. That it’s stable and good to its workers; that there are good pay rates and good working conditions, so I applied.”

Support worker Angela

Angela is now in her sixth year at Sylvanvale. Most of her time has been spent working at the Sutherland Community Hub, a centre-based day program.

“We do a lot of good activities,” says Angela. “We have music programs including drumming. We do lots of art and cooking, relaxation, and story time. The participants especially like the music. The programs are all well thought-out and structured.”


“I really like it here because the people we support have so much choice. And if they don’t want to do something, they don’t have to participate,” she says.

It wasn’t easy for Angela at the start though and took a few months for her to settle in. “I was a bit shocked because there’s so many diverse disabilities here, but then I got used to it after that,” says Angela.

Nowadays, parts of the role that Angela found to be challenging have become some of the most rewarding.

As she explains, “Some of the people we work with are non-verbal. They give you cues with their body language or their eyes or through different movements. It’s just wonderful to understand them and meet their needs. I think it’s a brilliant thing.”

She continues, “It’s something you learn over time. Everybody, all my co-workers, have learnt it. We’ve all got that understanding and we’re all learning from each other as well, as a team.”


Angela really enjoys her job. “I am very grateful to work at Sutherland Community Hub – I love it so much. It’s a fantastic place to work. It’s fun. I love all the people we support. We’ve got a wonderful team of co-workers and fantastic management. The management has always catered for me, which has been terrific.”

Angela believes in the importance of providing equal employment opportunities for people with disability and that their capabilities should be recognised and utilised.

“I don’t feel that society promotes people with disability to get jobs, which is really sad,” she explains.

“Or when they’re looking for work, they’re labelled or put into a box of what they’re capable of. They’re not encouraged to try things or do what they really like,” Angela continues.

“I’d like to see other companies as well as Sylvanvale giving people with disabilities a go at employment and catering for them. There are things they can do and they’ve got a lot of capabilities.”

Are you or someone you know looking for a rewarding career?