Joanne’s life changed for the better the moment she chose to become a carer.

In 2020, she started caring for her grandparents and later on had to make the decision.

“Back then, my grandfather was very ill, and I had to choose between my career as a Qualified Chef and helping him through the end of his life. I chose him, of course.”

“I needed to finish my career for a little while and I think I did the right thing.”

Her grandfather passed away nearly a year ago. Today, she is a full-time carer for her 92-year-old grandmother who is frail aged and lives independently.

“My Nan wanted to remain independently living so I said I’ll be her carer so she could do that, and she is continuing to do that.”

“We live across the road from each other. We live in two separate houses but it’s literally a 40-second walk to her house so it couldn’t be better. It’s really good.”

Joanne finished work in October 2020 and had been out of the workforce ever since. Then, she learned about the Your Caring Way program from Carers South Australia.

Last February she started her own business and now works with a school in South Australia, helping them run a Home Economics program.

“Your Caring Way supported me in getting my own business off of the ground.  They assisted me with my study habits, getting an ABN and a business name, and providing direction around setting up my business.”

“My Vocational Coach, Evelyn, was really fantastic. She helped me get the study up and going.”

“Later on, my Placement Officer, Shauna, came in and would continuously check in with me on how things were going.”

“I just started working two hours a week, last week. I have a group of 14 students for the next four weeks.”

“I feel excellent about my new employment. It’s very good. That’s exactly what I’m meant to be doing. It marries up perfectly with my priority, which is caring for my Nan.”

“It feels like the right balance, being able to care for my Nan and fulfil all her needs, but also provide me with some stimulation – it’s only two hours a week – but it’s a start, and the school is really flexible.”

Joanne worked as a professional Chef for 25 years. After she became a carer, she would voluntarily go into her daughter’s school and do some cooking with her class.

“Then the school approached me and asked if I would be interested in working for them for a couple of hours a week, running the home economics program.”

“The job that I’ve got right now it’s actually part of what Your Caring Way assisted me with last year.”

“I’m also studying to become a Yoga teacher and I was finding it very difficult to balance my studies with my caring role. “

“Your Caring Way came on board and helped me create a plan, with timeframes and goals, to be able to utilise my time better as a carer.”

“Your Caring Way helped me to a point that it was possible for me to have my business established and that sort of leaned into me being able to be at the school.”

“It worked out really well. This is the perfect job for me right now. I wouldn’t have even known that this kind of support existed.”

“They were able to help me find a way to access a computer, access business skills, organisational skills. They kind of brought it all together in one place, then followed it up and made sure that they double-checked that everything was going ok.”

“It was very beneficial, just me transitioning out of a career into a caring role and then being able to skill up in another way, to be able to have a bit of a plan for my future.”

When speaking about the future, Joanne feels very excited and optimistic.

“I would like to pursue a career where I can go into schools and be able to have a program that uses my skills as a chef to deliver packages, not as a teacher, but as an educator around food, food preparation and home economics.”

“The school is interested in getting me to create a garden, so they can teach from the garden and then I can make it into a package where they can cook food from their own garden.”

“At the moment what I’m doing is manageable in terms of being able to balance my commitments with my Nan.”

“It’s nice to be re-entering the workforce, to be able to work a little bit, but also to be able to fulfil my caring responsibilities. It provides me direction and balance.”