We are thrilled to bits to welcome Claire Leach to the brand new position of Community Services Program Manager at ACE! Claire is responsible for developing, leading and managing our community program with a focus on disabilities.
We spent a few minutes with Claire this morning to get her story and do a little sharing with you. First up we can say she is loads of fun and full of good energy.
ACE: Claire, how did you find your way into this career?
CL: I started as a Disability support worker when I was 19 while I was at University studying nursing. I deferred nursing after my second year, deciding I wanted to work with people who were generally well that required some support to live independently rather than in a hospital setting.
It is a real privilege to walk beside someone and contribute to their journey when needed.
After further study, I worked in both government and not-for-profit organisations in the areas of mental health, disability, child protection and out of home care. I enjoyed the diversity and understanding the specialised frameworks of each sector, but at the end of the day, the common denominator was working with people.
We are all unique with our own stories, and most of us need a hand up at some stage of our lives, and depending on circumstances, this can take shape in many different ways.
ACE: There’s a lot of buzz about in community services at the moment – what’s your take on that?
CL: Community services continues’ to develop and move with community need and Government direction. In particular, the role out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in our region has created a rethink and reshape of how disability services are delivered. About time I say! People with a disability are now in the ‘driver seat’ and have real choice and ability to make decisions on how they want their support delivered and by whom. It is a really exciting time to be part of the sector.
ACE: So what is your role all about and what can we expect?
CL: Gosh there are so many possibilities we will be exploring. What I can tell you is that there are some truly exciting new products and options scheduled for release by ACE in the coming week or two. You might just have to pop back and check the website.
ACE: Claire, what would you like to say about community services as a career choice.
CL: How long do you have! Community Services can take you down so many varied career paths, enhancing your skillset along the way. If you have a strong sense of social justice, enjoy engaging with people from a range of backgrounds, are open-minded and willing to learn from others, community services is for you. Plus you have the ability to ‘find your niche’ and work in an environment that best suits your interests. In the ever-changing landscape of Community Services, I think it would be very difficult to be bored…. I have yet to be in over 20 years!
Love your work already Claire and welcome aboard.