Dylan Alcott learns 5 new skills with Mable

Dylan Alcott says, “kickstart your 2021 by learning new skills”

Paralympian Dylan Alcott is taking advantage of the diverse and talented support workers on Mable by learning 5 new skills in 5 days. How’s that for a New Year’s resolution! He turned to the Mable platform and found independent support workers skilled in woodwork, music, languages, yoga and more!

With thousands of independent support workers across Australia there’s no end to the talent you can tap into to help achieve your 2021 goals –  and learning new skills might be a great place to get started :

  • Music or arts might help with mindfulness or a way to connect with your local art community
  • New crafts could be the start of a journey towards opening a micro-business or working in a new industry
  • And let’s not forget the boost in confidence that comes from mastering something new!

Dylan has shortlisted eight independent support workers based on the skills they can teach him, and with the help of the Mable community decided which five he try’s out!

Don’t forget, if you have an NDIS plan, it will always include your stated goals, objectives and aspirations.  It’s important to remember your support should always be related to your stated goals and aspirations in your plan and meet the Reasonable and Necessary requirements defined by the NDIS.

Day 1: Pet Fashion

Well the verdict is in, and the first of five new skills that Dylan is learning this week is “pet fashion”. And it’s happening with the help of independent support workers he connected with on Mable!

Today Dylan meets with Sarah, who has worked for over 10 years in fashion and textiles production and has just the right tips for Dylan to try his hand at designing and making pet accessories for his buddy Sauce! 

Learning a new craft can be a great way to refine those motor skills. Or could even be the start of a new business venture!

Day 2: Violoncello

Dylan’s Spotify playlist features an endless parade of his favourite music. But Dylan also knows that learning to play an instrument can be really therapeutic. He browsed the support worker profiles, interested to find someone who could teach him, and it didn’t even matter what the instrument was!

The result was Carmen, who has played and taught the violoncello for years and now offers her skills to people she meets through Mable. Dylan has been fascinated to find that learning to play is about so much more than managing to coax pretty-sounding notes from the violoncello.

“You’d be surprised how much you have to learn to concentrate and focus,” he says. “You have to maintain good posture too and for me, I’m always looking for ways to improve my physique and sitting up straight is good for you in so many ways.”

Carmen says that, in her experience, learning a musical instrument also opens the way for better social interaction in the community, such as playing in a local band or even as a soloist.

Day 3 – Japanese Culture

As a professional athlete, Dylan will be attending the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 so he’s keen to get a bit of insight into Japanese culture and learn a bit of the lingo.

“I think it’s important to show respect for a culture when you’re going somewhere overseas,” Dylan says. “This is part of my mental preparation for my Games experience because you can feel overwhelmed in a new place, especially where English is not widely used. That extra level of comfort will give me a bit of a sense of familiarity.”

Makayio has worked with lots of people on the Mable platform and says introducing them to the Japanese tea ceremony is a pleasure. “Teaching Dylan is an example of supporting my clients so that they can be more successful in their job.”

Day 4 – Painting

Looking for ways to relax and divert his mind away from stress and overwhelm, Dylan decided to explore art. “I’ve seen so many examples of people who’ve taken up art and it’s done them a world of good,” he explains. “So I wanted a piece of that action.”

Along came Charles, an abstract artist who teaches people he connects with on Mable how to create their very own works of art. From his very first lesson, Dylan discovered that he was quite the dab hand at painting and was pretty impressed with his innate skills. “Honestly, I thought art would be so different to what I usually do in my daily life that I wasn’t sure I’d be good at it, but it’s been amazing.”

Charles explains that art provides quiet time to be absorbed in something other than what usually keeps the brain occupied. “Oh, art is great for mental therapy, mindfulness and creative expression. It’s like good medicine and I find that once people get started, they never look back.”

Day 5 – Woodwork

Always looking for new ways to hone his skills, Dylan found out that woodworking helps to improve hand-eye coordination which is of major importance in tennis and basketball. He posted a job ad on Mable, calling for responses from support workers who could teach him a thing or two and heard from Peter.

“It’s been great!” Dylan says. “Working with wood is not just a practical skill, even though I’ve been able to learn how to fix a couple of things around home. I find it’s good mental therapy, makes you more creative and yes, the hand-eye coordination is definitely true.”

Peter has introduced plenty of people on Mable to woodworking and has found that they thoroughly enjoy the tactile experience of transforming the raw material into something interesting. “I’ve found people get a new sense of purpose, which lifts their spirits, gives them pride in themselves and opens them up more to family and friends. It’s an interesting socialiser, to be honest.”


Dylan’s Shortlist

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