The introduction of the NDIS in Australia has created huge demand for workers in the disability sector, and at present there is no mandated minimum qualification required. This means there are many people currently working the sector with little or no formal qualifications and lack of understanding of the needs of people with disability.
For many people with NDIS funding, finding the right support worker is one of the most critical elements to achieving the goals they have set for themselves in their NDIS Plan. Support workers can assist greatly in helping people achieve their goals. It can be the difference between achieving outcomes for oneself and not. I have experienced this firsthand with one of my own family members who is an NDIS participant, and well as the participants here at The Support People.
When choosing support workers for one of my own family members, we looked for someone who is relatable and possessed good character traits – empathy, honesty, flexibility as well as an ability to provide support with a sense of warmth and friendliness. We also wanted to find people who are interested in working with people with disability; and this interest usually meant they had undertaken some sort of formal study in the disability field.
So, it is the same with recruitment here at The Support People. I expect our workers to possess the same attributes and knowledge as the people I seek to help my own family. One of the key challenges we face is finding the right people to work with us. And this challenge is not unique to The Support People but other providers as well.
To find the best workers, those with the right attributes and industry knowledge, we have begun to form working alliances with quality training organisations. This year, we embarked upon building a closer working relationship with genU Training (TOID 5553), a registered training provider here in Victoria. Our partnership with genU Training means we can provide its best students with the opportunity to undertake paid employment as a means of completing required placement hours as part of their course requirements. It also means we get first access to the people who we believe will be a good fit for our organisation and our participants.
Two of our recent recruits are Amy and Tim, both currently completing a Certificate IV in Disability. They have demonstrated the personal qualities we have come to value here at The Support People: hardworking, flexible, and able to work cooperatively with people from all walks of life. Prior to studying disability, Tim worked in various roles including being a factory hand, courier, warehouse supervisor and forklift driver. Amy had been a stay at home mum for 9 years prior to returning to study. I recently asked them “Why did you choose to be a disability support worker?” For Tim, it was about doing more meaningful work; whilst Amy wanted to pursue a career where she could help people in her community. Hopefully, genU Training recruits such as Tim and Amy will remain as employees of our company long after completing their studies.
Written by: Naomi Eddy, CEO