Key to effective support is focus and collaboration, says Jakub
When you first meet Jakub, you quickly get a sense of why he fits so well into the role of a support worker. Kind, calm, genuine, he is exactly the kind of person you’d want in an unpredictable or unusual situation involving a person who requires special care.
Jakub joined Hearth in April 2018. Originally from Poland, Jakob had worked as a support worker in the UK; Hearth has provided Jakub with his first support worker role in Australia.
One of the first activities during Jakub’s induction at Hearth was training. For many of our support workers, this can involve learning many new skills. But Jakub found picking up concepts and practical lessons easier than most due to his previous experience.
“The training is just an introduction to show you the basics of work,” he said.
“The real thing starts afterwards.”
Striking the right balance with time and commitment
While Jakub came to Hearth seeking full time work, he initially started with us on casual engagement. We then worked to match him with clients who needed full-time support. Under the NDIS, this is the process we follow to work towards providing part-time and full-time work. Our priority is to first establish participant-support worker match. This ensures that choice and control remains with the participant.
Today, unusually for our support workers, Jakub only works very long shifts with a single NDIS participant – Billy. Being able to spend a significant amount of time supporting one person is particularly fulfilling for Jakub.
“Since I’m the only support worker I’m more attached, more involved. It’s more motivating. It was easier for me to get to know him and find how I can be more effective,” he said.
Family support makes a big difference
Jakub is particularly keen to point out that Billy’s parents have been extremely supportive as he has familiarised himself with Billy’s needs.
“I’ve been surprised by the amount of support I’ve had myself, from the surroundings of my client and from Hearth.”
“Billy’s parents, therapists, even strangers have offered a lot of help. Billy’s mum helped me with techniques. The other day I was in a shopping centre with Billy, trying to get up the escalator. A lady from a bakery ran over and offered to help.”
A fulfilling role for caring people
What advice does Jakub have for people considering support work?
“If you like people, if you’re sensitive to people with disadvantages, don’t look any further,”
“This is a role that will fulfil you on so many levels that you won’t think of changing for a long time. Just go for it. Try it. People with these needs are no different from any regular people. They just need a little bit of help and understanding of their circumstances.”