Meet Craig, a Lead Support Worker based in our Community division who has dedicated a very impressive 20 years of service to Rocky Bay and supporting our customers!
Craig began his journey with Rocky Bay in 2002 and ever since has gone above and beyond to support customers to achieve their goals – whether that’s learning something new, attending music or sporting events, enjoying a holiday or taking a tour. Craig makes it his mission to seek out of the box ways to support our customers to achieve whatever it is they desire.
Find out more about Craig, and his rewarding and varied role, with our Q&A!
Describe what a typical day looks like for you?
My lead support role in Community is quite varied and as a result a typical day doesn’t really exist. I could be doing anything and everything from office and coordination duties, supporting shifts with customers in the community or their homes, mentoring new staff, running our onsite groups or coordinating larger projects at the Mandurah Hub, such as murals and the installation of vegetable gardens.
Tell us more about your experience in support work and the disability sector?
I’ve had many and varied experiences as a support worker engaging people with disability in their interests, and supporting them to achieve their goals. A recent example was to support Chris in working toward his Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award by accompanying him on the STS Leeuwin II voyage.
How did you come to join Rocky Bay 20 years ago?
When I left school I had a plan that wasn’t even slightly in the community service sector. I wanted to work in environmental rehabilitation, but soon realised how few jobs existed in that space and I was finding it hard to get a foot in the door.
A friend’s wife was working in Disability Services and approached me to see if I would like to volunteer, and that soon turned into a part-time job where I made the decision to study what was then a Human Services certificate. I progressed through to a Double Diploma in Disability Work and Community Work all the while gaining experience working in different areas of disability support (community, in-home care, group homes, private residences, camps and holidays, and education).
Shortly after graduating I was employed by Rocky Bay’s Getabout program (now Community). I have now been here for 20 years and have seen lots of changes mostly for the better, NDIS being the biggest.
For those who aren’t sure, how do you support our customers?
Basically anything, the ball is quite literally in their court. Obviously some things will need investigating and require higher approval. I believe that people shouldn’t miss out on experiences or achievements due to their disability or medical conditions, and that all reasonable steps should be taken to support a person to participate in whatever they desire.
Some of the bigger things I’ve attended with customers have been concerts, holidays, sporting events, and special tours, such as Perth Zoo.
On a more regular basis I could be providing personal care support, social skills development, decision making support, guidance, planning and preparation, transport training, therapy assistance, or budgeting amongst other things, all while doing something as simple as going ten pin bowling.
What do you love most about your role?
The thing I love most is when I see a customer really connect with an activity (it could be a little from left field) and in some ways discover their passion. When that happens I throw myself into it and mine as many diamonds from their enthusiasm. An example was excavating the bones of a Kangaroo over a month to six week period, both the customer and I went home black with dirt but it was so much fun for us both, finding and identifying each bone we collected.
What do you love to do in your free time?
I think most people at Rocky Bay already know that Rugby Union is my passion away from work. I’m an honorary Life Member of Rockingham Rugby Union Club having played, coached and served on committee since I was 11.
Something not so well known is my interest in Street Art. When I travelled to Europe I bought art instead of cheap souvenirs and went on Street Art walks in London, Paris and Barcelona.
What are three things you can’t live without and why?
- Rugby Union: It’s complex and challenging, fun, good fitness, and an opportunity to release stress and tension. The social side is pretty good too
- A good curry: Childhood nostalgia – getting up late to share a curry after Dad came home from working nights
- Family and friends, for the obvious reasons.