What it’s really like being a Disability Support Worker under 30

Post by Open Colleges on May 14th, 2020

Have you thought about becoming a Disability Support Worker? 

The disability sector of the healthcare industry is seeing incredibly strong growth right now.  

As we discussed in one of our previous articles, How to become a Disability Support Worker, there is more demand now than ever for qualified, compassionate, positive people to join this expanding sector. 

As a Disability Support Worker, your days will be busy and sometimes challenging. But your job can also be hugely rewarding, and can offer you stability and room for growth.  

If you’ve ever considered studying a qualification in disability support, now is the time.  

What is it like working in Disability Support? 

It might surprise you to learn that most people who work in the disability support sector are between the ages of 45-54. Over 27% of people who work in this sector fall into this age category. In comparison, 18% fall into the 35-44 age bracket, while just 7.3% fall into the 20-24 age bracket. (Source

We spoke to Stephanie, a 22-year old Disability Support Worker who loves her job and believes more young people should think of this as a viable career path. We spoke to her about what her job actually involves and what she finds most rewarding about her job. 


Why do you find working with people with disabilities so rewarding?  

Working with people with disabilities has opened my eyes to another world that I have not been a part of. A world full of compassion and enjoyment in life. I have worked with clients who are from low socioeconomic families or do not have the luxuries I have in my family and their appreciation in life for the smallest of things, such as a friendly hello in the morning, is undeniably admirable.  

What does a typical day in the life of a Disability Support Worker look like? 

Every day is different. I mean, you always have a day planned out, but I do not remember the last time any of my plans went exactly as they were set out! Working with people with disabilities always requires you to think on your toes and you always must remember that their behaviours and emotions can vary from day to day.  

Do you feel as if you have built up a strong rapport with your clients after working with them so closely?  

I absolutely love my relationships with my clients. There is some that I feel like is a brother/sister relationship, sometimes they will get under my skin and some days I will get under theirs; but we always try our best to end the day with a smile.  

You start learning about their families and what upsets them and what makes them happy. They pick up on a lot more energies and emotions than some people may think, so they end up knowing a lot about me, too. 

What special things do you do with your clients to make them feel empowered? 

I think the most important thing that I find that empowers people with disabilities is being seen and people recognising them. All too often, they are pushed to the side because they have a ‘disability’, but some of the most interesting people that I have met are living with a disability. Just saying “Hello” and “How are you?” to them in the morning changes their whole day. 

Do you find it a rewarding career, and would you suggest it for others? 

I believe it is a rewarding career, but it is a career that is meant for those with a big heart. You must want to do this job to be with the people, not because of the money.  

What type of personality traits do you think someone working in disability would need?  

Compassion. Empathy. Sympathy. Honesty. Trust. I think these are some of the most important traits to carry with you when working in this field. You need to be aware of the lives of the people that you are working with. You need to know that not every day you will change someone’s life and four out of five working days may not work out the way you would prefer.  

Have you enjoyed your time working in disability?  

When I first started working with people with a disability, I did not think I would enjoy it as much as I did. I have learnt so much and that mostly came from my clients. They teach you how to appreciate life just that little bit more. 

Of course it can be difficult at times. Every job, no matter your position, comes with their challenges. But you get through it, and I couldn’t be happier than where I am right now.  

How to become a Disability Support Worker in Australia?

One pathway to becoming a Disability Support Worker is by studying a Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) at out South Australia or Western Australia based campuses.  

This is a blended learning course, which means the course consists of online and on-campus training. This really is the best of both worlds, and gives you hands-on experience as well as flexibility.  

Learn more about our other on-campus School of Health courses here.

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