AFTER a long career in hard-labour employment, David Fontana became an individual support worker, showing even at the age of 60 it is never too late to reinvent yourself.
Since making the career change, Mr Fontana has been working at Grampians Community Health as an individual support worker for three years.
Mr Fontana admits he took a "leap of faith" when he left his abattoir job, although he said he was glad he made the move.
"It was a huge change," he said.
"The manual labour roles are a tough game and it was starting to wear me out, getting up early in the morning and it's very difficult, physical work.
"I couldn't see myself staying in these roles much longer. Leaving was a bit scary at first but I'm glad I did it."
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Mr Fontana's wife Sue, who is a registered nurse thought he might be suited to a caring role. Employing his wife's advice he completed a Certificate II in Community Services through South West TAFE.
"The course was very helpful," he said.
"We learnt from the tutor and her experiences. What she said stuck with me and then months down the track when you're working you remember what she said.
"Grampians Community Health was looking for individual support workers so I put in for a job and got it and look forward to continuing in the field."
According to Grampians Community Health, his work involves helping mostly frail and elderly people who live at home with everything from cleaning to preparing for showering to taking them shopping for a cup of coffee or just a drive.
Morris McKercher 72, receives regular visits from Mr Montana which is, giving him the support he needs.
Mr McKercher wants to keep living in his home for as long as he can, and a support program is helping him to achieve that goal.
"Dave comes here a couple of times a week," he said.
"He helps when I shower, he doesn't come into the shower but he's there talking to me to make sure I'm going all right and that I'm doing what I have to do.
"It's good to know there's a hand there to help me if I really need it."
Mr Fontana described the work as rewarding, both for the worker and the client.
"The first thing I had to learn was that it's what you can do for them, not what they can do for you," he said.
"You have to be tolerant and have empathy.
"They look forward to it and I just help with what they want and need."
He is based at Stawell and also travels to Ararat to support residents.
Grampians Community Health is currently recruiting individual support workers. Visit https://gch.org.au/individual-support-worker-and-ndis/ for more information.
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