There are many reasons people work in the disability sector, for some the flexibility of hours and guaranteed employment means they can work around their study or family demands. For others, it is the first rung on an employment ladder, and then there are the “Golden Nuggets”, those who work with people with a disability because they enjoy it. Janelle Ducret is such a person.

Janelle has been with IDS for just over a year and was our first full-time individualised support worker. She now provides support to ten of our clients on a regular basis, enjoying the diversity of work, developing relationships with the clients and their families and making a difference to the lives of those she supports. Janelle’s clients all praise the level-headed and calming effect she brings to the role. Always a professional, and always prepared to give that little bit more to ensure our client’s expectations are met.

Janelle’s career began a million miles away, repairing and selling computers (so successfully she started up her own business taking on additional staff as the word got around about her services). However, while the job was proving financially rewarding it did little to satisfy her emotionally. Looking back, she recognises she was at a crossroads in her life and that she needed to be involved with people. It was after a discussion with her sister-in-law that Janelle considered a job in aged care as a support worker.

Looking to broaden the range of people she supported, Janelle joined IDS. “When I first became a disability support worker I had no idea of what to expect, I knew it would be challenging. I did not understand how working with people with a disability would be so different to aged care support. Of course, there is an age factor; but also there is a much more intense emotional factor. I could see there was so much more living to be done. For example, there needed to be more community inclusion and opening up of choices for living”.

Janelle appreciates the changes in attitudes from the general community towards people with a disability. However, she believes we have a long way to go if we are to eliminate all prejudices. “Sex for people with a disability for many people seems to be taboo. I find it difficult to understand why people have such a problem; it should be obvious that people with a disability would share the same emotions as others in the community and we should be accepting of the fact they are entitled to live their life the way they want”.

In her personal life, Janelle lives at home with her partner and son Aaron, “I originally came to Melbourne when Aaron was two years old moving from Nowra in New South Wales. I felt he would have more opportunities to get on down here.” Having initially studied law Aaron is now working for AWM Electrical and Data. Now 21 Aaron is looking towards taking on a management role within the organisation with his own store.

In her quiet time, Janelle enjoys writing, painting and ink drawing “I often find it easier to put my thoughts into the written word or through my painting than verbalising them” Janelle said. “I enjoy my job immensely however following an intense and long day it is nice to have some “me time”.

Pictured: Janelle Ducret, IDS Disability Support Worker and Janelle Summers, IDS Individualised Support Manager.