Industry Insights into Careers in the Disability Support Sector

Disability Support

Well we kicked off our first Industry Insights event for 2020 with a full house!!

With the Certificate IV in Disability on the Free TAFE list for 2020 and with lots of employment opportunity in the region, we were delighted to be joined by three of the largest Disability Support providers in the Geelong region.

A job in disability support is life changing for people with disabilities and for the support staff. It can be demanding and requires a lot of patience, but it’s also very rewarding. Disability Support workers are passionate, caring, and dedicated workers, who give people with disabilities the power to live the lives they want.

Now in case you don’t read to the bottom of this blog, I want you to take this piece of information away, so I’m going to put it right here!! All three organisations spoke about the importance of completing the NDIS Worker Orientation Module which has been developed to assist NDIS workers to better support people with disability. It’s a 90 minute module and you receive a certificate of completion, which you can then upload with your resume when job-seeking. It’s going to be what a Working with Children’s Check is to Early Childhood Education, so get a head start on your competition and click on the link below to complete the training.

https://training.ndiscommission.gov.au/

Back to our panel! Our first panel member was Paula Ruff the Practice Leadership Manager at Gateways Support Services.

Gateways Support Services provides quality, responsive services to more than 2000 children and adults with disabilities and their families in the western half of Victoria each year. This community organisation has grown from a grassroots service to a broad-based support service with more than 500 staff across multiple offices, including its head office in Geelong West.

Paula spoke so passionately about the positive change that the Disability Support sector has experienced in the past decade, which has seen so much opportunity open up for people living with a disability.

We were also joined by Kate McLean the Coordinator, People and Culture at Leisure Networks

For three decades, Leisure Networks has pursued a vision of capable, healthy people and inclusive communities. They focus on building life-skills, confidence and social connections. They support people with disability to lead more independent lives and to achieve their aspirations.

Our final panel member was Nikki Young the Recruitment and Wellbeing Lead at genU

For more than 65 years, genU have been providing support for people with disability, older Australians, and people experiencing disadvantage. With over 3000 staff across 200 national locations, genU is committed to building inclusive communities and helping people realise their dreams.

All three organisations follow a similar recruitment process. Vacancies are advertised on their company website and social media pages – genU is the only one who uses Seek and Leisure Networks is the only one who encourages applications to be sent even though there may be no advertised vacancies. Links to their recruitment pages are listed at the end of this blog. All three organisations review each application personally with the direct manager for the position. Short listed applicants will attend an interview and if successful two professional references will be contacted.

Here are some tips and tricks to help you with your job application for this sector.

Recruit for values and attitude – Technical skills can be taught! While there are some mandatory requirements (Current Level 2 First Aid Certificate, Current CPR Certificate, Current Working with Children Card (WWCC) for employees, assessed by the Disability Worker Exclusion Scheme, Completed NDIS Worker Orientation Module) and a Certificate IV in Disability is desirable, your personal attributes are much more valued. If you are passionate about people of all abilities being treated fairly and being included in the community and are enthusiastic about the work that the organisation does, then you are a strong candidate for employment as a Disability Support Worker.

Lived experience is experience – Many jobs may say “must have a minimum of 6 months experience”. Don’t let this put you off. Don’t discount any lived experience you may have as this is so relevant. Do you have experience with a family member living with a disability? Have you engaged with community members with a disability at school or local sport etc? This all counts as experience.

Casual employment – Did you know that four of the seven members of Leisure Networks leadership team commenced their employment in a volunteer or casual role with the organisation? In all honesty, your first role with any of these organisations is most likely going to be on a casual basis too. Embrace it. Work as many shifts as you can, enjoy the work life balance that this sector offers.

Opportunity knocks – All organisations have such a broad range of opportunities available and many employees start as a casual Support Worker and then find their niche in a totally different role. Take Paula for example, she started at Gateways as a casual support worker in accommodation settings 8 years ago and at the time was not expecting to find that her passion is Positive Behaviour Support, which has taken her into a leadership role today.

Attention to detail – Disability Support work requires skills like taking detailed case notes and following instructions. These skills are also required when submitting a job application! Make sure that you don’t leave the recruitment team wondering about your skills in these areas by submitting a sloppy application – read the Position Description carefully, answer the key selection criteria accurately.

It was so clear from all our panel members, the enthusiasm and joy that they experience from working in the Disability Support sector. If you think that working for one of these organisations could be for you, please check out the current opportunities available listed on their websites below.

Gateways

https://www.gateways.com.au/get-involved/employment

genU

http://careers.genu.org.au/cw/en/listing

Leisure Networks

https://www.leisurenetworks.org/who-are-we/work-with-us/

If you need a hand with your resume or key selection criteria please book into one of our workshops or call 5225 0700 to book a one-on-one career advice appointment.

https://www.thegordon.edu.au/sitedocs/sjc/what-s-on-february-july-2020-g.aspx

Finally if you want to hear more about Industry Insights into Careers at NDIA please contact the Centre on 5225 0700 to register for this free event on Monday 30 March.

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