Name: Jessica Blakeley
Job: Education support officer at Hamlyn Views School
VET: VCAL and Certificate III in Education Support, school-based traineeship.
Quote: My vocational qualification set me up for my dream job – supporting people with a disability.
What do you do?
I’m based in a classroom where I help students with a disability with their learning, personal care and wellbeing. The work I do is very rewarding, and I am able to implement what I’ve learned from both VET certificates in the classroom.
What was your VET journey?
I studied a Certificate III Education Support as a school-based trainee at Nelson Park Specialist School as part of my VCAL in year 11. I then did a Certificate IV in Disability Services after finishing school.
Exposure to work experience at school made me realise that a career in education and disability support was for me. Work placements included working with vision-impaired older persons and disability day programs. I also participated in the ‘Sleep at the G’ and interact with people who were experiencing homelessness.
What advice would you give to students who are considering a vocational pathway?
Go with your gut, everyone’s journey is different. Keep persevering and don’t give up on your dreams.
What challenges did you face along the way?
As an autistic person, I sometimes ask people to repeat things a few times to make sure I’m taking clear instructions. I was concerned that this might be an issue for some people, but my colleagues have been very supportive of my needs.
Monday-Friday 8.45am – 3.15pm.
Inside or outside?
Indoor and outdoor
Solo or teamwork?
Mostly I work one-on-one with the students, but if there’s something that falls outside of my expertise, I work in a supportive environment and we all help each other when someone needs support.
Working in a supportive environment and constantly evolving my professional career. I love watching my students develop their skills and achieve their goals.
People don’t know?
There is so much more to being an education support officer than just helping kids in the classroom. I administer medication, provide one-on-one support, deliver programs, and demonstrate how to use new products. No two days are ever the same.