Your lived experience can be an asset for organisations who want to ensure that the voices of clients and consumers are heard.
You might have your own experience of chronic illness, housing insecurity or drug and alcohol dependency. You may be someone who has unique insight into the barriers and injustices experienced by marginalised groups including Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples, people with disability or people from migrant and refugee background. You may even be a carer for someone with these experiences.
You can utilise your own life experience to make changes within systems or advocate for others to build on their own strengths and skills to move forward.
There are many roles in the sector for people with lived experience. These include peer workers or lived experience participants. These roles help to ensure the experiences and needs of clients are prioritised in the design, delivery and improvement of services.
Alongside other skills, experience and qualifications, lived experience can also ensure that workers share insight and empathy for the people they are supporting. While no one can walk in someone else’s shoes, creating trusting and reciprocal relationships with people who may be enduring difficult circumstances is an essential skill for many community sector roles.
When looking for a role in the community sector, consider whether your own lived experience – and your capacity to ensure the voices of clients are present, heard and responded to – adds to your range of other skills.