A meaningful career change

Last year Joanne Tallis, OC Connections (OCC) Disability Support Worker watched the award-winning documentary “Leaving Allen Street”, a film documenting the journey of 30 plus intellectually disabled participants who moved from OCC’s congregate care facilities in Allen Street to new homes in the community. The film aired as part of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival in 2020.

Watching “Leaving Allen Street” turned out to be a pivotal moment in Joanne’s life and working career. 

Joanne had worked in retail for 10 years and wasn’t sure what direction she wanted her career to take. Watching the film inspired her to think that a career in disability support was for her. She says; “the tears flowed freely while watching Leaving Allen Street, especially around Valarie’s story and her move from the UK. I was so taken aback by the program.“

So impressed with what OC Connections achieved in the redevelopment program and the successful relocation of residents to safe, affordable homes within a community setting, Joanne contacted OCC to express how impressed she was with the film and how she would love to be part of an organisation that can make such a wonderful impact in the community.

After induction and training, Joanne started as a Disability Support Worker with OC Connections in March 2021 working on-site in our day services area. She knew she made the right decision from day one.

She said, “The OCC staff and Team Leaders were amazing during my induction. They introduced me to everyone. I enjoy what I do so much that I don’t even feel like I’m at work. I love it at OC Connections.”

Joanne has now settled into the role and has started a Certificate IV in Disability at Chisholm Institute, which she is loving.  Before lockdown, she enjoyed supporting participants in dancing classes and in walks to Scotchman’s Creek. She likes to inspire the participants to get active. 

With the current lockdown and a limited number of participants now on site, Joanne has been redirected to one of our community living houses to provide support to our residents.   

She gets joy from her hands-on role, finding out about the participant’s likes and dislikes and giving people the opportunity to explore different learning options so they can get real enjoyment from life.

One of Joanne’s highlights so far was when she had the opportunity to meet some of the residents from the “Leaving Allen Street” film. Joanne said she was star-struck to meet the residents and was so excited to let them know that if it wasn’t for her seeing the film, she wouldn’t have applied for a job with OC Connections. 

OC Connections are always on the lookout for dedicated people who are passionate about supporting people with disabilities to live life their way and who support the Co-Achieve model of delivering person-centred positive behaviour and communication support to participants.

We offer a diversity of roles, backed with comprehensive skills training and education. Find out about a rewarding career with OC Connections here.

Read more about the redevelopment project and the Leaving Allen Street documentary and life beyond for residents.

Feature image: Joanne supporting residents Lorraine and Debbie during lockdown #5.