The happiest support worker

29-year-old Alex is one of the most affable and enthusiastic support workers you’ll come across.

His lived experience with autism makes him a great fit for his job, but it wasn’t that long ago he struggled to believe he would ever find work.

“I couldn’t talk to anybody” Alex said.

“I couldn’t even walk outside and say hello to people because I was so shy.”

Today, he has transformed.

“It’s always good to give it a shot”

Read a full transcript of this video.

Helping people with disability

Alex is a member of the Lifeplan Disability Services team, based in Perth.

As a support worker he works with several clients providing social support, working on their goals and assisting them with any day-to-day tasks.

“Alex fits really well with the job with us as a support worker because he has a really friendly, smiley disposition about him” his employer Shannon said.

“He has nothing but positive things to say and he takes that out and supports our clients in the community with that same energy.”

Autism is a lifelong condition which affects a person’s thinking, interactions, and reactions to their surroundings.

“Not having a job made me feel like I couldn’t do anything” Alex recalled.

When it came to searching for a job, Alex had difficulty with his speech and communicating with other people.

He also benefited from additional guidance to learn new tasks, taking a little more time to commit tasks to memory.

APM helped Alex build his confidence by connecting him with training courses and getting his driver’s licence.

“APM really supported me through difficult times” he said.

“Working with APM, finding a match for people for our role was simple” Shannon said.

“They know everything that the client is able to do, to make sure they’re suitable to send over to us first.”

She describes the impact hiring Alex has had in her business:

“Putting someone with a disability in to help other with a disability is a really empowering thing.”

And the effect this has with their clients:

“Some clients and their families were apprehensive at first, but after working with Alex and seeing how fantastic he is with their clients, it gives renewed hope for what their own family are able to achieve.”

“APM were always there for me”

Supported all the way

Alex was employed with support from the Disability Employment Services Program, delivered by APM.

APM Employment Services has supported more than 120,000 job seekers with an injury, illness or disability into work over the last two years, and CEO Karen Rainbow says the impact of employment on a person’s life is very significant.

“When someone starts working after believing they may never get the chance, is life-changing" said Ms Rainbow.

An average workday for Alex involves driving his clients around Perth - providing transport to help them engage and socialise in their local community and achieve their personal goals.

Shopping and cooking are a couple of the main tasks Alex helps his clients with – he’s learned lots of new things – including picking up a few new recipes for himself.

“My friends and family are so happy for me – it makes me really happy, and it makes me a better person” Alex said.

The positive impact is best measured by his cheerful response when asked how he feels about the future:

“I’m ready. Rock n’ roll!”

“It makes me a better person”

Are you eligible for Disability Employment Services?

You can join APM for Disability Employment Services through Centrelink.

When you visit Centrelink, they carry out an employment assessment and if you're eligible, they will recommend you to a Disability Employment Services provider. Remember to ask to join APM so you get the best service when searching for employment.

To be eligible for Disability Employment Services, you must be:

  • An Australian resident aged from 14 to 65
  • Receiving an income support payment, disability support pension, an NDIS participant or an eligible school leaver
  • Able to work between eight to 30 hours per week (with support when required)
  • Not studying full time (unless you’re an eligible school leaver)
  • Not already working at or above your assessed work capacity

If you're already receiving an income support payment, you can also register with us directly.

If you’re with another provider, but would like to change to APM, contact us and our teams will be happy to speak to you.

When you visit Centrelink, they carry out an employment assessment and if you are eligible, they will recommend you to a Disability Employment Services provider.

Remember to ask to join APM so you get the best service when searching for employment.

If you’re with another Disability Employment Services provider, but would like to change to APM, contact us and our teams will be happy to speak to you.


Frequently asked questions

Who is APM?
How does Disability Employment Services work?
Who qualifies for Disability Employment Services?
What to expect
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