Meet our new Training and Compliance Coordiantor | Michelle’s story
I’d finally had enough of Sydney traffic so 6 months ago I moved to the Southern Highlands with my husband and 3 boys. Since then we’ve been busy renovating our house, we adopted 2 rescue kittens, and I’ve started work at Interchange Australia as the Training and Compliance Coordinator. My passion is helping people live the life that they choose. After 13 years working in the corporate Insurance industry, I found a job that carried real significance and meaning. Working for a not for profit organisation in the disability sector you get the reward of seeing that the work you do really makes a difference in people’s lives. I love getting to see real progress in clients as they develop their social skills and develop resilience to changes in their routine.
In 2005 I completed my Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, and in 2018 I transitioned out of the corporate world and into the disability sector through The Sylvanvale Foundation, a disability organisation close to where I lived in the Sutherland Shire. While I was there I did my Certificate III in Individual Support, completed a mental health first aid instructor course, studied challenging behaviour management, and put particular focus on getting to know how the policies and procedures actually played out on the ground with the clients. I’m really passionate about getting the balance right between duty of care and dignity of risk with the clients. I believe in giving people freedom of choice, autonomy and therefore also intergrity. People with disabilities have the same inherent value and worth as their support workers and so I enjoyed being able to train support workers in this way of thinking too, and that the client’s choices really matter.
Another area I concentrated my energy on was training surrounding relationships and sexuality for people with disabilities. I have seen first hand how people can often be very dismissive of the sexual and relational wants and needs of people with disabilities. It’s a basic human right that’s always overlooked, because of this perception that people with disabilities shouldn’t be in relationships, aren’t sexually active, and shouldn’t have those wants and needs. I did a course on sexuality and relationships through the Centre for Disability Studies, which then inspired me to do further study through Family Planning NSW on providing rights based sexuality supports and how to design and deliver a sexuality education program. Being able to train support workers to be more aware and open minded about the relational and sexual needs of their clients has been a satisfying job as we see the cultre slowly shift to be more accepting of the autonomy of people with disabilities. I’m excited about my role here at Interchange and look forward to getting to know all of the wonderful support workers and clients and getting to engage through some new training programs.