Today Westcare celebrated 20 years of service for both Gail Walton and Jill Wain.
Staff and carers joined Gail and Jill at Westcare’s Sunshine Office and reflected on their journey.
During Gail's presentation, Peter Mulholland, John Avent, Chris Jones, Katie Hooper and Bernie Marientelli reflected warmly on her accomplishments so far in her career.
Gail currently works as Recruitment and Training Co-Ordinator but began her career at Westcare in Residential Care in 1994.
In 1996, she took over management of her unit and in 1999, Gail moved into Westcare’s Sunshine office, working in the adolescent program.
“Initially I was doing some case work and I also had the portfolio for recruitment and training of Foster Carers. Eventually that became my position… never stopped doing it ever since!”
Gail has held her position in Publicity and Recruitment for 15 years.
In reflecting on her career, she recognises setting up the unit she managed as a highlight.
She emphasized the importance in creating an environment for young people that is familiar and inviting.
“We were just workers but this was their home.”
As well as her work in the unit, being able to present at conferences across Victoria, interstate and in Canada has also been an incredible experience. Her passion for training and further learning also opened an opportunity for Gail to participate in a study tour in America, where she was selected by The Salvation Army to participate.
“It makes you realise how good of a job we were doing at Westcare.”
She also added the value of being able to “pick up tips about what other people do overseas and interstate.”
Gail further reflected with enthusiasm about the quality of training at Westcare.
“We’ve become the expert at Westcare regarding training and assessing trainers and we have that tender at DHHS to show others.”
Gail’s tireless work has been recognised with many awards, including the Hope Quiet Achiever Award in 2012 as well as multiple years of service awards.
As a Carer herself, Gail heavily invests her own dedication and devotion to young people in care through her role in publicity and recruitment.
“For me… working in partnership with Carers, valuing what they are doing as a Carer myself I have that empathy and know what its like to care for someone else’s child,”
“When you have that lens, you have that perspective & understand the journey those Carers go through.” “Jill, she’s been a Carer too,” she added.
Lastly, Gail credited the strong organisational culture at Westcare for her own personal and professional development.
“With Westcare, being able to work autonomously and develop my position…that’s been really great, developing partnership and working with other agencies and organisations within our sector has been really good.”
“We have that longevity with workers at Westcare.”