Rocky Bay’s Community Team support our customers to build independence and provide opportunities for them to get involved in the community, meet new people and build on their skills.
The Stages Toward Employment Pathways (S.T.E.P) program supports customers to find tailored, sustainable employment to match their personal goals, strengths, and interests by getting to know their goals and career aspirations.
Penny Bickford leads on our S.T.E.P program as part of Rocky Bay’s Community Team. She works with customers, their support team and potential employers, to help identify and develop an individual’s skills and help them to find their niche in the workplace.
Get to know Penny and her role a little better with our below Q&A!
How long have you worked at Rocky Bay?
I have been with Rocky Bay for a little over two years, as part of the Community Team. I have worked in disability and aged care sector for almost 20 years.
What does your role involve at Rocky Bay?
The S.T.E.P program is constantly moving and requires a lot of flexibility and thinking outside the square. We assist customers in their transition from school and learning to various employment pathways.
Our day can involve vocational training, resume writing, interview skills and training on workplace expectations. Building capacity and work readiness also requires us to negotiate opportunities for work placements, researching different types of employment, and helping to create micro-enterprises or customised employment options for customers.
As a virtual hub, our program services any area from Two Rocks to Mandurah, so any one day usually involves supervising our team of mentors and liaising with customers, families and employers.
Tell us more about your experience in the field?
My main roles have been in various areas of disability employment services, including working in coordination and management in Open Employment (Disability Employment Services), business services, and transition programs in the Perth metro area.
I was heavily involved in staff training, quality assurance and managed a projects portfolio for a number of years. I have also worked in support in the aged care sector.
More recently I took some time to raise my two girls and grew two successful small businesses from home.
What do you love most about your role?
I find much satisfaction in being able to make just the smallest difference to someone’s quality of life. I love a challenge and every day sure is different!
S.T.E.P offers services to a broad range of customers and I love being able to walk alongside them on their journey.
What do you love to do in your free time?
I love to keep active and have fun out in nature – hiking, hanging out with the horses, riding my bike or out on the river. I am a crazy crafting lady and love to be creative!
What are three things you can’t live without and why?
- My family and friends – they keep me sane and grounded!
- Fun – life is short. Live hard, take risks and give your all
- Our menagerie of fur, hooved and feather friends