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Irshad Haidari

Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability)
Trained by Open Colleges School of Health
Employed by Cara (Community Accommodation and Respite Agency)

A disability support worker with Cara, Irshad Haidari completed his traineeship with Open Colleges School of Health in 2020, as part of a Skilling South Australia program designed to encourage people into lasting careers via traineeships and apprenticeships.

Born in Pakistan, Irshad is Afghan, and arrived in Australia in 2017 at the age of 20, when his father – who had migrated to the country a decade earlier – sponsored his Mum and four brothers to join him.

“As a kid, Australia was always the dream, a place where there is no discrimination, everyone is equal, and where, when you work hard, you can be a success,” says Irshad.

“I had a number of job roles, including working as a baker. Being a baker was good work, early mornings and really satisfying, but I wanted to work with people. Then one of my friends told me about disability support work.”

Irshad now works as part of a supported independent living team at Cara, providing support to two women in their twenties. The women he supports are non-verbal, requiring Irshad and his colleagues to carefully watch for non-verbal cues, communicating by reading body language, expression, and visual movements.

“When you do this work, you have a profound impact on someone’s life. You are a trusted person in their lives, and you help them to become more independent and confident in their abilities,” says Irshad.

With his workplace based in his customers’ home, Irshad provides support in all areas of life – including mealtime management, personal care, aqua therapy, community support and inclusion.

“My Certificate III qualification is just the beginning of my career working alongside people with disability,” says Irshad. “I would like to keep training, do my Certificate IV, and one day become an advocate for people with disability and their families ­– especially people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds like me, and people who have complex communication needs.”