Developing roles that align with Jessie’s interests and contributions

In this presentation, Genna Ward, Jessie Ward, and Cassandra Morrow discuss their experience with Job Development, focusing on Jessie’s role in after-hours school care.

Portrait of Jessie WardJessie 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. She is now studying to be an Early Childhood Educator and is working at a Childcare Centre. She also does 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.

In this presentation, Jessie, her Mum and her Life Skills Development Mentor, Cassandra, discuss

  • 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.

Portrait of Genna WardMeet Genna Ward

Genna works as a psychologist in private practice. She is concerned about the state of the world and has an interest in eco-psychology. She also enjoys being in the bush and meditating.

Along with her partner, Kim, Genna is very committed to ensuring her daughter Jessie has a rich, full life and is well-connected in the community. Genna has been learning about Customised Employment for a few years and has been busy implementing the model. With Genna and Kim self-managing her NDIS plan, Jessie has received support to do an apprenticeship, work in childcare, and become involved in advocacy. Jessie is supported by a Job Coach and Life Skills Development Mentor, Cassandra.

Genna is glad to be able to share her story and give back to the community that has helped her family so much.

Portrait of Cassandra MorrowMeet Cassandra Morrow

Cassandra is a self-employed Job Mentor/Life Skills Developer and has worked in this role with Jessie and Genna since 2017. She has been a Feldenkrais teacher for over 20 years and has her own private practice. Before that, she worked in the early childhood field. The linking thread has been her passion for individual development and dignity and seeing people live their best lives.

When she’s not working, Cassandra enjoys being in the bush, bird watching and the chance to be quiet with a good book.