Andrew Lloyd is an experienced plasterer and tiler who made a big career change into disability support and hasn't looked back.

Andrew grew frustrated with his chosen trades before he went to IMPACT Community Services and signed up for the Certificate III in Individual Support – Disability (CHC33015) course.

There were a few personal challenges in such a career change, as Andrew said he had to do some self-examination but he’d come out the other side better for the experience.

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“All of my years in trades work I would rarely show my softer side to anyone other than my wife and kids,” he explained.

“But now I think about people, I think about their safety and their feelings.”

COVID dampener

Andrew had planned to spend some time working in the disability support field before one day running his own business in the sector. But, COVID-19 put a dampener on his plans.

Though his wife was working full-time he struggled for a few months, until the offer came to work at IMPACT.

“It's a lot easier on the body,” Andrew said.

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“And I'm helping people with their problems.”

Andrew said he'd come across some “rough apples” in the construction industry and working on fishing boats, but at IMPACT he'd been given the chance to develop his softer, more receptive side.

“I do a lot more listening, but I also try to understand,” Andrew said. “People say one thing but they mean another, so you have to try and get behind the words and see the person, what they're going through.”

Unique initiative

Andrew loves the work he's doing, primarily in Rob's shed, a unique initiative run by IMPACT where NDIS participants can learn carpentry and build their own creations, with help from experienced operators like Andrew.

“We've been building bird houses and block trolleys and CD racks,” Andrew said. “One client, Sarah, brings her own timber and is re-purposing wood from home.

“They're stoked when they see what they've built sitting there in front of them.

“They know what they want, I just help them with practical methods, and finishing touches.”

Great work culture

Andrew loves working at IMPACT and says the organisation has a wonderful work culture.

“They give you a lot of space to be your own person and to help you help your clients be their own person,” he said.

“There is a great wealth of knowledge on staff and there is no such thing as a stupid question.

“They are all very friendly and supportive.”

Andrew is a shining example of the fact that it's never too late for a career change, and to reap the personal and psychological benefits a career in helping others can bring.