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Hear From LWB Employees

We have a rich and vibrant workforce in a variety of roles and locations. Click on the images below to hear from the staff at Life Without Barriers. 

  • NT Recruitment 2
    Mel Barlow - Disability Program Coordinator

  • asmaa
    Asmaa Ahmed - Program Manager, SA (Refugee & Asylum Seeker Services)

  • kaio cygan
    Kaio Cygan - Disability Support Worker

  • cara tranby
    Carla Tranby - Community Care Support Worker (Aged Care Services)

  • NT Recruitment 1
    Leanne Benson - Disability Support Worker

  • liz
    Liz Lewry - Operations Manager, QLD

  • natasha
    Natasha Woodleigh - Executive Assistant

  • Photo of Max
    Maxwell Ihegboro - Disability Support Worker

    What was your first paid job?

    My first paid job was in a warehouse in logistics, and pick-packing and arranging things so the stores could come collect them.

    How did you become a Disability Support Worker?

    When I was growing up my grandma had a disability and I helped her a lot. Unfortunately she passed away but she’s why I have a passion for the work.

    What does a Disability Support Worker do?

    Our job is to support people with disability to achieve their goals. For example, for clients with mobility issues this might be assistance with going shopping and learning techniques or trying new ideas and ways that provide greater independence.

    What qualifications did you need to become a Disability Support Worker?

    I have a Certificate II and Certificate III in Aged Care, and a Certificate IV in Disability.

    NB: The entry qualification for a Disability Support Worker is a Certificate III in Community Welfare or similar, or willingness to complete this within your first two years of employment.

    What do you enjoy most about your job?

    My clients. It’s amazing the kind of joy you feel when you have been able to support someone and they are happy and fulfilled. It has been a worthwhile experience and I wouldn’t replace it with any other job.

    What’s a standout moment for you since being at LWB?

    There are a few stand-out moments but one of the best was when one of our clients got a job. He’d been a bit nervous about it.  He’s very independent but was unsure about working.

    What advice would you give to someone wanting to become a Disability Support Worker at Life Without Barriers?

    You have to have empathy and a passion for the job. Helping our clients achieve their goals makes me happy.  

  • Photo of Brenda Freeman
    Brenda Freeman - Aboriginal Case Manager

    What was your first paid job?

    My first paid job was as a nurse – and I stayed nursing for 21 ½ years.

    How did you become a Case Manager?

    I have always had a focus on families and children and I wanted to help my Aboriginal community. Being an Aboriginal person with  the relevant skills and experience it’s good to come into a role where you can try to make a difference and help.

    What does a case manager do?

    You work with a group of children managing their day-to-day support - education, health, whatever is required. You also support the foster carers to make sure the home is stable and the children are happy and a trusting, caring relationship is established. Working with the childrens’ birth parents is also important to maintain contact between the child or young person and family.

    What qualifications did you need to become a Case Manager?

    Case Managers require a university degree. I have a bachelor of Health Science in Public and Community Health but you can become an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Case Manager with Life Without Barriers if you have a range of different life experience and life skills.

    NB:  The qualifications for a Case Manager is a degree in Social Work, Social Science, Psychology or Human Services; and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Case Manager (dedicated role – employees must identify as being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and work with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander clients) a tertiary qualification in Human Services or related discipline or equivalent relevant experience is required.

    What do you enjoy most about your job?

    Life Without Barriers is a big organisation so you have the opportunity to move within the organisation. I like to have the opportunity to grow in my work and change, and there is that possibility of advancement at Life Without Barriers.

    What’s a standout moment for you since being at LWB?

    Taking the children away on camps and having really good quality time with them is a standout for me. You find out a more about them and make real connections, making a big difference for the children. The networking and socialising with colleagues is also terrific and makes us a strong team. I enjoy seeing the changes in the children and making a difference with them. Having those connections with the kids but also having the support of your team as well. It’s really good when you’re having bad days, you’ve got a lot of support.

    What advice would you give to anyone wanting to become a Youth Worker at Life Without Barriers?

    Please do it. Come and join and be part of a really good and supportive team and a good organisation.

     

  • Photo of Peter Stone
    Peter Stone - Case Coordinator

    What was your first paid job?

    I worked as a motor mechanic for 26 years, starting off originally helping out in the workshop and behind the counter at a local service station before doing an apprenticeship.

    How did you become a Case Coordinator?

    I’ve always liked working with people but couldn’t see how I would obtain a position in this area. I think studying definitely helped and also how to empathise more with people that are vulnerable and in difficult situations. I now work with refugees and asylum seekers.

    What does a Case Coordinator do?

    I work with around 50 clients to assist and support them to be self-sufficient in Australia. This includes helping them understand and navigate all areas of living in the community from referrals for medical issues, torture and trauma counselling, obtaining Medicare cards and engaging with immigration. We recommend support services for our clients and connect them with community links, English lessons and offer workshop at our drop-in centres.

    What qualifications did you need to become a Case Coordinator?

    I started off with a Cert IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs  and during this course was given an opportunity to attend university and study a Bachelor of Arts degree.

    NB: Case Coordinators should have a degree qualification in Human Services or a related discipline.

    What do you enjoy most about your job?

    I really enjoy building good relationships and trust with our clients and seeing them integrate into the community and the changes in attitude, and the way they speak. They’re self-sufficient and being able to see that transition is probably the most rewarding thing.

    What’s a standout moment for you since being at LWB?

    There are so many stand out moments that have occurred during my time with Life Without Barriers, but the opening the new community hub in Parramatta (in Sydney) would be one.

    What advice would you give to anyone wanting to become a Case Coordinator at Life Without Barriers?

    Be patient, open-minded and seek plenty of training in order to help clients in the best way possible.

  • Photo of Mark Grentell
    Mark Grentell - Youth Worker

    What was your first paid job?

    My first ever paid job was working at a video store… back when they existed! I always loved watching movies and I angled to get a job there as soon as I was old enough.  I also started teaching drama and running a kids’ drama workshop when I was very young too.

    How did you become a Youth Worker?

    I’ve always had a passion for working with young people. I trained as a primary school teacher and wanted to inspire and educate young people. However, with youth work, the opportunity to inspire, educate and affect change is amplified. I love what young people represent, the unlimited potential they have and I enjoy helping them through the inevitable challenges they’ll encounter in their lives.

    What does a Youth Worker do?

    My role is to be someone a young person can trust to share their fears and anxieties and help them find ways through challenges. I always feel my first priority as a Youth Worker is to be there to ensure and protect the mental, emotional and physical wellbeing of the young person or people I am working with.  This can be as simple as engaging them in a range of stimulating activities and experiences, supporting them with school or attending important meetings and appointments.  It can also involve helping them attain and build various skills both personally and professionally.

    What qualifications did you need to become a Youth Worker?

    I have a Bachelor of Education and a Post Graduate degree from NIDA in Directing.  But I believe the main qualification you need is experience and passion for working with young people as well as patience, compassion, and the ability to control a situation and to communicate effectively. 

    NB:  The minimum qualification for a Youth Worker is a Certificate III in Community Services, and/or qualifications in Health or Management, or equivalent experience in service delivery.

    What do you enjoy most about your job?

    I enjoy the challenge and diversity of the work.  In youth work everything can change in an instant.  I enjoy being someone who can help a young person to work through difficult moments and come out the other side better for it.

    What’s a standout moment for you since being at LWB?

    There are honestly too many to count.  It’s the accumulation of smaller moments that make it worthwhile - helping a family re-connect or when a young person you’ve helped with driving lessons gets their Ls.  I love seeing how a conversation can change a young person’s perspective or attitude, or how an activity can give the young person confidence and a greater sense of self.

    My advice about being Youth Worker at Life Without Barriers

    My best advice would be to make sure you are passionate about it and that you are in it for the right reasons. The young people need someone they can trust and someone who is dedicated to helping them reach their potential, even when they can’t see it themselves. Be prepared to be active and to try different things. Youth by and large want to be active, they want to run around, play games, play sports and experience different things. So your job is to do that with them and to be there for them while they learn about and experience life. 

  • Photo of Trent McGrath
    Trent McGrath - Aboriginal Case Manager

    What was your first paid job?

    My first ever paid job after I finished high school was as an apprentice carpenter.

    How did you become a Case Manager?

    Being an Aboriginal man who loves my  culture and my people,  I saw first-hand unfortunate, negative things happening and wanted to help and support the community by working with them and by working with Aboriginal youth, kids and families. I felt there was a need to help my people so I made the switch over to the Community Services sector and left the building and construction industry.

    What does a Case Manager do?

    We support and advocate for the children and young people in Out of Home Care (this includes Foster care) on a daily basis. We coordinate with their Foster Carer to help manage their living arrangements, health needs, dental, therapeutic intervention and education, and keep them connected to their identity, culture and family.  We liaise and network with many stakeholders including the government, Education Department, medical centres and other professionals to ensure that our clients’ needs are being met. 

    We are also responsible for ensuring the children and young people maintain contact with family, identity and culture. It is extremely important that as Aboriginal Case Managers, we teach young people about being proud, being Aboriginal, about culture and making sure that they know where they come from and who their family is. Those are just some of the things we do as a Case Manager and we build on them to help make sure the kids are successful.

    What qualifications did you need to become a Case Manager?

    I started with a Certificate II in Community Services when I first started working with Aboriginal Youth in the Juvenile Justice centres. I then gained my Diploma in Community Services, and since joining Life Without Barriers as a Case Manager in Out of Home Care I have continued to further my studies. I’ve just completed a Certificate IV in Indigenous Leadership.

    NB:  The qualifications for a Case Manager is a degree in Social Work, Social Science, Psychology or Human Services; and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Case Manager (dedicated role – employees must identify as being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and work with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander clients) a tertiary qualification in Human Services or related discipline or equivalent relevant experience is required.

    What do you enjoy most about your job?

    Interacting with the kids. My favourite part of the job is when I get to go and see the kids, spend time with them and build a rapport. I also like being able to support them when they’re going through a tough time in their lives and guide them with whatever situation they’re in, making sure their needs are being met. I enjoy seeing their successes whether it be a merit award at school or getting their learner driver’s licence or even if they’re playing up in school and their behaviour has changed. And being part of the Aboriginal team, I get to expose them to culture by returning them to Country, giving them the opportunity to go to cultural camp and attending NAIDOC week. I love being able to expose them to their culture.

    What’s a standout moment for you since being at LWB?

    There are many. One moment that I was proud of was our NAIDOC day in 2015 and seeing all of the kids so engaged in the process. We marched with Elders and Traditional Owners that day. To see the kids all painted up and waiving the Aboriginal flag and proud to be in their culture and so engaged and listening, it was a very special day for me.

    What advice would you give to anyone wanting to become a Case Manager at Life Without Barriers?

    To do this work you need to be passionate - passion to do the job and work with kids in unfortunate circumstances. You also need patience, dedication, and a willingness to put the time in, and to be supportive - someone the kids can come to at a difficult time in their lives. Care about what you do. Don’t just do it for the money, have the right motives, there will be challenges in the position but the rewards are worth it.

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