Leadership in Supported Employment

The most important people in the recovery process are the people who access our services, but it doesn’t hurt to have leaders who can act as career role models.

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By ANTONY WEARNE of Royal Sydney Golf Club, formerly Flourish Australia

I haven’t closed the door on Flourish Australia, but gardening is my trade and I saw this offer to move to Royal Sydney Gold Club as a big opportunity to push myself and extend my skills as a horticulturist.

I’ve always wanted to work on a golf course. This is a Professional Golfers Association course, a private club that has top end facilities. It is also the oldest golf club in Australia and they are giving it a new face with a $30 million redesign.

I think my role at Flourish Australia impressed my new employers. I learnt a lot from a leadership role with supported employees. Important things like the use of strengths based language and the importance of reflective practice. When you practice the step by step process of reflection, it becomes not just a work skill but a life skill. That is something that I have always tried to get across to the supported employees I’ve worked with.

Of course, there is a challenge here. We have to balance two equally important sides, which are providing support while meeting the contract requirements of our customers. This means that supervisors can have quite a lot on their plate, and we need to be good at multitasking.

Mowing the lawn is not the best time to talk about issues, but we make time to do this, in the car for example. When on the job, employees will also come up to us needing to chat about things, and not necessarily at the most ideal time, but it all has to be done. Just like the training side of the job and the Workplace Health and Safety side of it, these things can’t be neglected.

The Horticulture course that some of our supported employees are doing I think has great potential for developing careers, and the NDIS is a big opportunity for employees to develop the relationships with customers that allow them to have a career perspective.

Thanks to Jay Irsaj

Flourish Australia
Unit 2/ 22 Anne Street
02 9393 9270

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