Meet Our Trainer – Ann VanDam
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Meet Our Trainer – Ann VanDam

My name is Antonia, but I prefer to be called Ann. I have a Dutch background and moved with my family from the Netherlands to Australia several times during my childhood. This gave me an interesting upbringing as I attended primary school in both countries and completed my secondary schooling in the Netherlands. In my early twenties, I returned to Australia, got married and had three beautiful children.

In my late thirties, I started working in the aged care industry in the kitchen. After some time, I was asked to help out on the floor with domestic tasks. At first, I wasn’t keen as I thought I wouldn’t like it. But once I got on the floor, I never looked back.

I completed my PCA training followed by my enrolled nursing (which I did together with my eldest daughter). I was offered the position of Unit Manager, which eventually led to me becoming the Facility Manager. I was in this role for around nine years. Sadly I had to leave due to health reasons, but I wasn’t ready to leave the aged care industry.

I decided that I could still have an impact on the industry by making sure there are great PCAs to look after the elders. I felt extremely lucky to have gained employment with EmployEase as they are great to work for. Going from face-to-face to Zoom has been challenging, and I personally feel that the students are at a bit of a disadvantage when the class is not face-to-face because as a trainer, it is easier to read the student’s body language and facial expressions when they are in front of you allowing the trainer to tap into their needs. I have always liked to keep the students engaged in my classes, this can often relax and give them opportunities to give their opinions, this creates a good bond.

I find that if the student enjoys the class, they are more committed.

I often tell my students not to overthink things, as what they are learning is not all new, they already know how to take care and meet the needs of people, and now they are learning to do this for those who need assistance, and if they keep thinking how they would like to be treated they are halfway there. Once they can see that, they seem to understand what they are studying.

One of the great things I have gained is a wider understanding of multiculturalism due to the great variety of students. They all have such interesting stories, giving me a fantastic opportunity to learn from them.

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