Jessie Ward presented on Day 1 of the Opening Opportunities conference with her mother Genna and Job Supporter Cassandra on the theme of developing roles
About Jessie Ward
Jessie is a young Canberran who finished Year 12 in 2021, having completed a Business Apprenticeship in a primary school front office. She worked in Outside School Hours Care the first year after school. In 2023, she was studying to be an Early Childhood Educator and working at a Childcare Centre. She also did paid Advocacy work and, in 2022, helped to design and hold a national Summit for Young People with Disabilities.
Jessie’s work life has been greatly enhanced by what she learned through the Discovery Process and using a Customised Employment approach. She loves being involved in the workforce and is very keen to participate in the wider community. She appreciates having a strong team of mentors that back her up, including Cassandra (her Job Coach and Life Skills Development Mentor), as she takes her place in the world.
Developing roles that align with Jessie’s interests and contributions
Genna, Jessie, and Cassandra discussed their experience with Job Development, focusing on Jessie’s role in after-hours school care. They explained:
- the Discovery process and how it helped Jessie to identify her interests and employment aspirations clearly
- how they reached out to people they knew to help them brainstorm employment ideas and approach potential workplaces
- how they created volunteering and employment opportunities using the Customised Employment approach
- the role of a Job Coach and how their understanding of the role has evolved
- the Job Development process: what worked, what didn’t, and how they overcame obstacles
- what was needed for Jessie to be successful in the workplace, including:
- clear expectations of what she will do
- enough hours to have a meaningful working week
- avoiding big noisy environments
- consistent co-workers
- supported study
- support to understand appropriate expectations.