The idea of changing careers mid-life is not something that everyone looks for and if they do, it’s not always an easy decision to make.

Mildura’s Richard Adams 45, is someone who made such a change, after working in the retail sector for more than 20 years, when he joined Sunraysia Residential Services to becoming a carer for people with a disability.

“I worked at Woolworths, Fishers IGA and also for a long period of time in the bedding business with Forty Winks,” Richard said.

“I loved every minute of it, but then I reached a point where I was feeling stale and I thought no I’ve done my bit and it was time for me to do something different.
“I saw a job advertisement for SRS and I applied for it. They basically threw me a ‘bone’ and I grabbed it. And, I haven’t looked back − that was in February 2016.
“It probably wasn’t something I would have done 10 years ago, but the timing was right when I made the decision.”

Richard said that he can’t see himself doing anything else now, although he is interested in other areas of caring for people’s well-being.

“I can see myself branching out into the mental health area possibly, but I am very happy where I am at the moment,” he said.

Richard and his wife Tennille manage their work and home life, with both of them working for SRS, which involves shift work across a fortnightly roster.

“It involves team work and we are lucky to have a fantastic family and great friends and I have a 20-year-old daughter who can undertake some of the household duties and if I’m not working during the day, I can get dinner ready and so we work around it and it’s fine,” Richard said.

“Shiftwork isn’t as bad as people think it is. You might start at three o’clock in the afternoon and so you have all day to do things during the week. You get four days off a fortnight and so it works well and the remuneration is excellent once you have your qualifications.”

Richard said that while the industry might not be suited to everyone, it is a rewarding and well paid career path to follow and he would recommend it to people looking for a change.

“SRS provides all of the training required and initially new employees work ‘shadow’ shifts,” he said.

“You do 30 odd hours and this allows them to get a feel of how you work and they might put you here and there, and eventually you will find the area which you are suited to and you’ll know if you are going to go on with it.
“I knew straight away. I was up for the challenge, and while I wasn’t totally sure if I had the right feeling or not, I was up for the challenge and I grabbed the opportunity.”

Richard said that SRS train you on the job and he undertook his Certificate IV training on the job.

“You will end up with your qualification while you are working,” he said.
“You don’t need to have a qualification when you first start − but if you do − all well and good.
“It’s also about life experience. I have found that my life experience has come to the fore and has been invaluable in what I do here.
“SRS is expanding its range of services with the NDIS and so there are other areas to branch out as time goes on.”