A voice for support staff

IEU Rep Anthony Leon Downs is determined to make sure the support staff perspective is never overlooked.

Anthony started his career straight from school as an IT trainee at the Catholic Education office, Diocese of Parramatta.

Upon completion of his two-year traineeship, he started work full time at Oakhill College Castle Hill as an IT Support Officer and studied for his university degree at the same time.

For the last five years he’s been at Our Lady of Mercy College (OLMC) Parramatta, where his role has expanded. He’s now Assistant IT Manager – Infrastructure, managing projects and back-end systems that the school relies on.

Two years ago, Anthony took on the added responsibility of IEU Rep for support staff. His mother is an IEU Rep at another school; having seen what she’s achieved for her colleagues over the years, he was inspired to put his hand up to become a Rep.

“At meetings with the principal and other Reps, I can see there are a lot of interests coming from different perspectives: the students, parents and (P&F), teachers and support staff, the board, AISNSW, and the religious aspect of the school,” Anthony said.

“It’s important the employee (especially support staff’s) needs are raised among all of those competing voices.”

Anthony said support staff often don’t know about their MEA (multi-enterprise agreement) and aren’t clear on their rights, so he spends time talking to them about these issues.

“Membership has increased since COVID. People want security, reassurance, and stability.

“Historically, this school has a strong chapter and some reps have recently retired, so I want to make sure it stays strong into the future.”

Sue Osborne