Meet Adriana! When Australia’s borders closed during the pandemic, Adriana lost her job as an English teacher. But becoming a support worker for Afea helped her find her way back to being an educator.
“I’m still teaching, but just different skills, right?” she says. “I’m teaching life skills.”
Adriana describes her support worker role as “an eye-opener”: “It made me see how ordinary people truly live. How some people need other people to support them every day.”
Keep reading to learn more about Adriana!
Can you tell us about yourself? What led you to Afea?
I come from an ESL (English as a Second Language) background. I was an English teacher and lost my job during COVID. Australia’s borders were closed and there were no international students coming in.
I heard about Afea through a friend. I have experience in care work through supporting my own parents, especially when COVID hit. My father has Parkinson’s.
For a while I did both support work and private tutoring on the side for students who were stuck here when the borders closed. But private tutoring wasn’t stable, and I didn’t want to continue teaching from home. It was a completely different dynamic, just talking to screens and seeing students get distracted. I now focus more on my work as a carer.
I used to want to return to teaching, especially when I just started this job at Afea. But not anymore.
Do you think it’s because you feel more comfortable in your role?
Definitely. I’m still teaching, but just different skills, right? I’m teaching life skills. This role is an eye-opener, and it made me see how ordinary people truly live. How some people need other people to support them every day. Some of our clients can’t do tasks that we just take for granted, like taking the lift or using a mobile phone. I have a client who once said to me, “If it weren’t for you, I’d be lost.”
What support do you provide our clients?
I provide community participation support and domestic assistance. Community participation means supporting clients in anything they need to reach the community. So, appointments, shopping, things like that. Every Monday, I take one of our clients swimming, for example.
Domestic assistance means light housekeeping and assisting clients with their housework.
What is your proudest moment at Afea as a carer?
I’m always happy to see clients making progress or having some kind of breakthrough.
One of my clients would have a panic attack when using lifts or escalators, but now every week we’ve been able to do that, and it’s encouraging to see her progress.
Sometimes you ask a client, why don’t we try this or that, and they would say no. Because they’re too afraid or don’t know where to start. But you persist in asking every week – and one day, they’ll say yes.
Interested in becoming a support worker in Sydney or Melbourne?
If you’re looking for flexible hours and meaningful work in a supportive environment, we have a place for you at Afea. Apply as a carer now!