Life is full of surprises.
When Luke was a community services student he was asked to choose a work placement somewhere he didn’t think he would ever be able to work with. He chose the area of disability.
It turned out Luke was so well suited to working with people with a disability, he was offered a job at his work placement. The work placement was at Woodville Alliance and that was twenty years ago.
In those twenty years, Luke has made connections with countless clients, families and staff through dedicating himself to supporting clients achieve their goals.
Today Luke’s colleagues and clients at Woodville surprised him with a special barbecue celebration to mark his milestone as the first Woodville Alliance Disability Services staff member to clock up 20 years of service.
Some of the clients spoke to the gathering, thanking Luke for all he has done for them. Woodville Alliance Chief Executive Pam Batkin congratulated Luke on his milestone and commented that the organisation was very fortunate to have someone with Luke’s sense of humour and intuition.
‘The way Luke relates to our clients, it is understated, but he has such a great sense of humour and the ability to pick up anything that seems amiss. He is a great role model to his fellow support workers,’ she says.
Another staff member, Suzanne, says, ‘When you think of Woodville, you think of Luke — he is someone who epitomised the values of our organisation and loves what he does —you can see it from the moment he walks in.’
‘He thinks of ideas, nothing is too challenging, he gets on board with new initiatives, welcomes new staff and clients and is an integral part of the team.’
With his can-do attitude, Luke has spent more than a decade getting to know some Woodville Alliance’s service users, sharing their joy, providing quality support. Service users are motivated by him and trust him. Staff are amused by his practical jokes and sense of fun.
When Woodville asked some of the families whose loved ones access Disability Services about Luke, it was clear that he is widely respected and appreciated by clients and families. Some of those families contributed to a video screened at the barbecue, to thank Luke.
For Luke, it’s about coming in to work, making a difference to someone’s life and going away knowing that person’s life has improved in some way.
‘Working at Woodville has been a fantastic experience,’ Luke says, ‘I work in the community in which Iive; I see the people I support when I walk down my local streets. Knowing I have supported them in some way, it means so much to me.’
If a key challenge to disability service providers is to attract and retain talented staff, then Luke epitomises a support staff member who is driven, engaged in his work and gives his best, every day.
If you are interested in current job opportunities at Woodville Alliance , contact our Human Resources team.
As for Luke, the resounding message today was ‘here’s to another 20 years!’