Rhys is a 20yr old support worker with One2One. Rhys moved to Perth four years ago after completing high school in Trinidad. He currently lives with his father and two older sisters. He has been a support worker for the last two and a half years.
We ask Rhys what drew him to support work and how he got started with One2One.
What made you decide to become a support worker?
I enjoyed interacting with the community and people around me. I saw that I had skills that always made me a leader or a teacher. I felt that I could help those that may not be comfortable with the things that I excelled at. I enjoy helping people and that led me to support work.
How did you get your start in support work?
I attended the 2018 One2One Christmas gathering with a friend who was a support worker at One2One. At the Christmas gathering I was introduced to the person my friend supported. He seemed very comfortable talking to me and we interacted well. Months later when my friend decided to move on from support work with One2One, I was offered the position as Ryan’s new support worker, and that’s how I got my start in support work at One2One.
What did you do for work before you became a support worker?
Before I was a support worker, I was a sales contractor for a very short period of time. So I consider being a support worker as my true first job.
Are you currently undertaking any study?
Yes, for the past 3 years I have been studying a double major in genetics and molecular biology and biomedical science at Murdoch. I will graduate at the end of 2021.
Would you say it’s a flexible career – can you fit the job around your daily life and other commitments?
Yes, being a support worker is an incredibly flexible role. This job has allowed me to study, work and maintain a social life.
How would you describe support work to someone who isn’t familiar with it – or thinks it’s just about personal care?
I think there is no true definition to what support work is; it varies from person to person and is dependent on their individual needs. Support work can range from helping someone get to and from a destination, to teaching them how to do something they have always wanted to learn. Or, it can be something as simple as just being there and listening to them.
Is there such a thing as a typical day?
I don’t think a typical day exists. On some days there may be a usual routine. However, each day always starts with asking the person what they would like to do and then planning the day from there.
How would you describe the relationship you have with the person/people you support to someone who doesn’t know much about support work?
I’d say the relationship is a very unique one. The relationship is a professional one to begin with and then it transforms into a personal relationship over time. Professionalism is still maintained; however, you begin to care more about their wellbeing and needs. You really become friends.
What do you find most rewarding about support work?
For me, the most rewarding part about being a support worker is seeing a positive change in the person you support. The best part is seeing them finally understand or learn something after you have been guiding them for a while.
What do you find most difficult or challenging about support work?
The most difficult part about support work is knowing when to take a step back and allowing the person you support to figure it out on their own. I think keeping your cool in stressful situations and not causing the person you support to panic is a challenging but important aspect of support work.
What would you say to someone who hasn’t thought about becoming a support worker but might be a great fit for a career in support work?
I would say to try it and see how it fits.
What’s the one thing you wished you’d been told about support work before you go into it (and that you’d tell others thinking about getting into it now)?
I wish someone told me how much planning and preparation it takes to fulfil the goals of the person you’re supporting. What many people don’t realise is that your shortcomings directly affect the quality of life of the person you are supporting. So, not being prepared or not doing the job to the best of your ability is hindering the growth and development of someone else.
What are your hobbies outside support work?
Outside of work, I enjoy catching up with friends and going to the gym.