Hastings disability support worker Estella Carmichael has been chosen from the pool of 148,000 apprentices and industry trainees in New Zealand to be part of the annual Got a Trade? Got it Made Future Leaders Forum and Awards.

Ms Carmichael is a strong advocate for people with disabilities. As a disability support worker for Community Connections Supported Living Trust, she supports people to live a good and independent life within the community.

"I enjoy working alongside people to help them be independent. I am currently working as a support worker, but my organisation recognised my ability to support other people's learning and so I have been given a mentoring role."

After completing an on-the-job training programme through the Industry Training Organisation Careerforce, she gained her National Certificate in Health, Disability and Aged Care Level 3 and got involved in mentorship to support her colleagues through their own training journeys. She is now working through her National Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education.


"Studying literacy and numeracy to support adult learners has opened my eyes to the number of support staff with learning difficulties.

"It's challenged me to look at how to incorporate literacy and numeracy and embed that into our own programme."

Professional development manager Dee Hyde says Estella has shown great leadership in the Hawke's Bay region of Community Connections.

"Her background in teaching and her skills as a support worker are a great match with staff who are having literacy difficulties or confidence issues with their learning."

Ms Carmichael said the people she supports often face social prejudice, difficulty gaining employment because of their disability and struggle in finding appropriate government assistance. Part of her role is to help them overcome these challenges.

She helps them find alternative approaches and strategies to support their own journeys to independence.

"Training taught me what kind of policies and legislations are relevant and important to my line of work.

"It's given me a good foundation to be able to do the job I have now and be able to support the people I work with better."


Ms Carmichael is representing the disability sector in the Got a Trade? Got It Made Future Leaders Forum and Industry Training Awards as part of Got a Trade Week.