What's your job about?
I am a senior project officer in the planning support branch at the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). The NDIA is an independent statutory agency. Our role is to implement the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) which funds supports for Australians with a significant and permanent disability and allows them choice and control in how they access and manage their supports.
There are around 4.3 million Australians who have a disability. When it is fully rolled out, the NDIS will provide about 460,000 Australians aged under 65, who have permanent and significant disability with funding for supports and services. For many people, it will be the first time they receive the disability support they need.
My team and I are responsible in providing guidance to all staff and partners working with participants, their families and carers to ensure they have the reasonable and necessary supports they need to achieve their goals and outcomes. We do this by providing written resources guiding our participant facing staff through the activities and tasks they perform every day as part of their role.
Providing high quality, user-friendly resources are an essential step in ensuring participants have a positive planning experience with someone they trust and who is confident and knowledgeable in the planning process.
What's your background?
I grew up in Derby which is a city in the middle of England. In 2012 I made the move to Australia with my Australian husband and two of our three children (the third was born here).
I worked as a dental assistant for eight years before deciding to turn my life upside down by applying for university as a mature aged student.
I attended Deakin University in Geelong and graduated with honours shortly after my 40th birthday. I was lucky to have a diverse range of occupational therapy fieldwork experiences as part of my degree which included mental health, acute hospital rotations, hand therapy and school-based OT.
I applied for the NDIA Graduate program in 2015 whilst in my final year of university and commenced as one of the NDIA’s inaugural 12 graduates in January 2016. Since then my career has gone from strength to strength and am lucky to go to work every day and be surrounded by people who are as passionate as me about making a difference in the lives of Australians with disability.
In my spare time, I can be found at home on my rural property surrounded by our many animals which include goats, chickens, ducks, sheep, a horse, a cat, a dog and a snake.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes, what makes my team great is the diverse knowledge and skills of its members. We make the most of this diversity by working as a team and drawing on the knowledge of others. The one skill we all have, which to me is the most important skill for anyone working at the NDIA is a passion for what we are doing and who we are doing it for. We can train staff in most areas of our work, but passion needs to come from within.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
The coolest thing by far about my job is hearing participant stories and knowing the difference the NDIS is making to the lives of people with disability in Australia. Some participants are receiving supports for the first time in their life and whilst some supports are subtle and aimed at making participants' day to day life a bit easier, others are completely life-changing. Add to this the choice and control participants have over who provides their support and how they manage their support funding and it couldn’t get much cooler.
What are the limitations of your job?
Because the Agency is so good at following its motto of listen, learn, build, deliver, we are constantly changing based on feedback from participant’s, their families and carers and providers. We look at what works well, where the challenges are and we change. Whilst this is great, it does mean that my workload is ever changing and there is no room for complacency.
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