My name is Alyse Humphreys-Kearnes. I am the Human Resources Adviser at Macarthur Disability Services (MDS) in Campbelltown. I have been with MDS for six years.
Before starting with MDS I hadn’t had much exposure to disability. I know a lot of people get into the sector because of their personal experiences, perhaps through a family member or friend, but I didn’t have this sort of experience or background.
For me it was more about my own personal values. I wanted to make a difference. I was studying Human Resources but I wasn’t drawn to work in the corporate space. I didn’t want to end up working in a 9-5 job and then just going home. I wanted to be part of something bigger.
When I applied for a role with MDS I linked in with their values straight away. In the recruitment process they were talking about how important honesty, integrity and social justice were to the organisation. That really resonated with me. Here was a role where I could make a difference in people’s lives.
Social justice underpins everything we do. That and our strength-based approach. It’s how we go about supporting people in their social and community environments. It’s how we develop our own staff. The work culture we create has a huge impact on the quality and level of service we provide.
From a HR perspective, I would tell young people considering a career in the sector that there are many ways to get in, on many different levels. You can enter through front-line support. Or you could go on and do further study and come in through a more specialised filed. So someone with a background in psychology might enter as a behavioural support specialist.
Once you’re in, the good thing about places like MDS and other organisations is that they’re very supportive of internal movement and progression. Most of our staff at MDS originally started as support workers and worked their way up into specialist roles and management positions. This includes people within our executive team.
I always suggest volunteering as a stepping stone to working in the sector. Volunteering is a great way to gain practical experience, often making you more employable. It also helps you to figure out if this is something you really want to do.
Our involvement with projectABLE is to help generate more interest in the sector with young people. Many organisations are going to expand under the NDIS. We want to ensure there is a pool of capable, passionate people to fill these roles.
WANT TO TO BE PART OF SOMETHING BIGGER? START WITH A PROJECT-ABLE WORKSHOP. MACARTHUR DISABILITY SERVICES ARE HOSTING WORKSHOPS THROUGHOUT TERM 3.