In this work you learn that the glass is always half full. | Frank’s story
Why Australia? I threw a dart at a world map and that’s where it landed.
I grew up in Holland, and in 1974 fate had me land in Australia. I remember flying in for the very first time and looking down and it was all red land and blue sky. Very impressive, very different.
During my time in Australia I wanted to see what life had to offer, my first job here was making tyres at the Goodyear factory and after that I moved on to greener pastures.
In the 80’s I lived in Paddington, but this was before it was trendy. I started a degree in anthropology at the University of Sydney and graduated with second class honors. It was then time to return home in Holland after my friends dared me to try out for Medicine and somehow I got in. I finished my medicine degree and got my Doctorate.
After this I returned to Australia to live but I was not able to practice medicine as I needed to complete additional qualifications to do this here, so I used my passion for the health industry elsewhere and became a patient transport officer. That was a riveting job. We would take people back to their homes after they’re returning from hospital. I remember one gentleman we brought home, when we got to his house the whole place was crawling with insects. We cleaned up his house for him and went out to buy him some milk and bread, because that’s what we do. We only want happy customers, we care about the people we help.
At this time a friend of mine was working in the disability sector, they told me I should apply as they thought I’d be great. In 1995 I did, I got in and I loved it! It wasn’t too long before I became the manager of 5 group homes of semi-independent clients. This was before the NDIS existed. I loved my job here even though it was very hard work. I would often get calls in the middle of the night for issues that I would have to attend to.
Now I have come to work for Interchange, I absolutely love it.
This kind of work is fantastic, you get to work with some amazing people. They all have fantastic stories – there’s never a dull moment. In this work no one cares who you are where you come from, it’s not about competing to get ahead, but working together as a team to solve problems and most of all help people to live their best life.
Just today I got to work together with Layal to fix one of our Day Options Client’s wheelchair. Working together is important because what I don’t know someone else might and together we get to make that difference. The clients themselves are fabulous – they never cease to amaze me. They don’t even realise how much progress they make. But you just keep encouraging them and be the springboard to help them find the things that they really enjoy and watch them thrive. In this work you learn that the glass is always half full!