The Job Search That Kickstarted Wallace’s Rewarding Career In Disability
Wallace Mwapamba went from being a new migrant in Australia with no prior experience in the disability industry to being employed by one of the biggest disability support providers in Western Australia. This achievement was the result of his determination to find valuable work in the disability industry and his drive to complete Centacare’s CHC33015 Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability).
“I am from Zimbabwe,” Wallace explained,” and my cultural background is a conservative society. My wife has been in Australia for a long time, and I came here in December of 2020 through a spousal visa.”
When Wallace arrived in Australia, he was motivated to look for work, which had led him to discover the disability industry. His motivation developed after realising the number of job opportunities in this sector.
“I only got to know about this opportunity (to work in the disability sector) when I came to Australia. When I know of it, I wanted to try it out and see how it is.” Wallace stated.
When asked how he found out about Centacare’s disability support course, Wallace said, “I started looking for an organisation that will be the best fit for me. So, I went on Google and typed organisations that train people for disability skills, and of course, many organisations popped up. Once I saw Centacare and had a look at its social media pages, I decided that Centacare resonates the best with me, and so I was willing to try it out.”
Wallace enrolled in Centacare’s Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) course earlier this year. During this interview, he was eager to share his study journey at Centacare.
“When I arrived at Centacare, I found the facilities are clean and comfortable with great small classes so trainers can focus one-on-one with students. I am grateful to have the trainers, especially Liz Fawcett, for being patient with me.”
“I met some amazing people and learnt teamwork during my course at Centacare. During class, we also got the chance to learn about other people’s cultures. Our class get to teach each other about the different cultural views and share our own unique stories. So, it was also a big thing for me to learn from them. We even got to bring food from our own country to class and share them. It was one of those things where when you are here (at Centacare), you are always learning. I enjoyed that very much.”
“Those 19 weeks gone by pretty quick. Time flies when you’re enjoying what you are doing,” he added.
As part of the 19-week Disability course, Centacare placed Wallace in a work placement with Identitywa and was hired for a full-time position after his work placement. “I got a chance to do a placement with them, and then, I got the job after my placement,” he explained. “Centacare helped introduce me to the world of disability, where I get to add value to someone’s life in a positive way. It is something that you can never put a price on. I am so glad to know that I am being of value to someone else.”
Wallace continued, “The first day that I started work placement was confronting. I learnt and saw how clients were living their lives for the first time, and then I got to see how I could be of use to them. When you work with clients, you support them in living an independent life, and you are there to be the agent to facilitate the making of their own choices. I think that it is valuable, as a disability support worker, to get into that place. So, I would say that for someone who has never experienced working in the disability sector, it was the best experience because it made you see the other side of the world.
The challenge of learning something new
When asked about the biggest barriers Wallace has encountered during his study journey at Centacare, he mentioned that he had a fear of learning something new.
“The biggest barrier was navigating through the disability course because it is something I have never done in my life. Every day there was something new to learn, and it took some time for me to absorb certain topics and issues. I guess I wouldn’t want to call them barriers, they are more of a challenge for me.”
“I overcame them through Liz (Centacare’s Disability trainer), who helped me by building my confidence. Liz is an asset to the sector of disability. She is a mature person who understands students and sets them up for success.”
As for as future aspirations go, Wallace is looking forward to continuing his effort to support people in fulfilling their goals and hopefully grow in the sector and learn as much as he can.