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Melba support worker wins prestigious national disability services award

Updated: Nov 17, 2022

Melba is celebrating the announcement that one of our staff has won a prestigious National Disability Services (NDS) Award in fierce competition, selected from 650 applicants nation-wide.

Ahmad Alhamid, a leader at one of Melba's complex care Supported Independent Living (SIL) houses, won the 2022 Workmate of the Year Award. This award celebrates and recognises someone who delivers outstanding support, goes the extra mile, is a pleasure to work alongside and makes the workplace better.

Since joining Melba in 2018, Ahmad has been providing outstanding support for people and inspires the team around him to follow his lead. Nothing is too much trouble as Ahmad loves working with people.

Before joining Melba, Ahmad owned a backpacker's hotel. When he moved to Australia, he studied tourism with aspirations to become a travel agent. However, after hearing strong recommendations from a colleague at a volunteer job, Ahmad was inspired to change directions. He said:

"While volunteering with the SES, the Controller, who happened to work for Melba, suggested that I try disability services. I spoke to my wife, and she encouraged me, reminding me that I always love working with people, so I started working with Melba.

"I enjoy building relationships and getting to know the people we support. After a year my supervisor asked me what I wanted to do in the future, I told her I wanted to be a manager. I did my Cert IV, then I was given the chance to be an Outcome Lead and have just completed my Advanced Diploma in Community Sector Management."

Ahmad is always willing to go the extra mile to support people to enjoy the activities they love - and this is just part of what Melba does. Ahmad is a strong advocate of taking a human rights approach, always making sure people live fabulous lives of their choice.

He organised activities such as iFLY, fishing trips, BBQs and a Christmas in July lunch. Recently, the people he supports recently wanted to see the light show at the Botanic Gardens, and they also wanted a trip to the Melbourne Show. Ahmad made sure there were minimal barriers, for example, he found out there was an accessible Ferris wheel. This demonstrates that in each activity Ahmad puts together, he always makes sure everyone has an enjoyable experience.

Ahmad said: "I love the way we focus on the people we support and work to make their lives better. Human rights is at the centre of everything Melba does, and I totally support that. I want the people we support to have every opportunity in life. I am grateful that I have been able to share some new ideas of ways to include them in new activities."

Left to right: Scott and Ahmad inside the Ferris wheel at the Melbourne Show this year

During the height of the pandemic, it was Ahmad's positive attitude and dedication that helped keep up everyone's spirits during an isolation period.

He said: "Our house was in isolation due to positive COVID cases among the people we support. On day 6, another person tested positive, so isolation was extended.

Ahmad (on the right) with the team counting down days until isolation ends. The final days of a prolonged isolation period were marked by a daily dance-off!

"I wanted to cheer everyone up, so we decided to have countdown dance for the final few days. Staff and I went to each person’s room with our countdown board, played music and had a dance. It really helped to lift their spirits and have a good laugh. It also helped the staff during a very stressful time."

Hayley Dean, CEO of Melba, said: “Congratulations to Ahmad – what a well-deserved win!

“We’ve known about his amazing skills and commitment to support people to live their best life for some time, and it’s fantastic to see Ahmad recognised at a national level."

Adrian and Ahmad celebrating Australia Day

As soon as Melba staff found out that Ahmad was to be nominated for the Workmate of the Year Award, his colleagues immediately put in their support.

Janet McLeod, Outcomes Specialist, said: "When it got out that I was going to nominate Ahmad as Workmate of the Year, enthusiastic contributions came from all levels of the organisation. People went out of their way to provide examples of why Ahmad is amazing and why we think he is most definitely Workmate of the Year!

"Ahmad is the leader at one of Melba Support Services’ most complex care houses. He has made this house one of our most socially engaged and delightful houses to visit. Ahmad cares for the people we support like family. He provides outstanding support for people and inspires the team around him to follow his lead. Nothing is too much trouble."

Janet said: "Ahmad is a gem of a human being. Attending the house he leads is a joy. There is always an air of can-do attitude, pride in the environment and the supports provided. He is an incredible host for formal parties and informal meetings.
"Everyone who meets him would feel listened to, considered, and supported. He is an incredible role model and fierce workplace ally as we seek to enable the people, we support to live fabulous lives."

Ahmad preparing for the Christmas in July lunch this year


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