The NDIS & the growth of the disability workforce

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There is a plethora of career opportunities for people, especially young people, in the disability sector… but a career in this rewarding sector will require specialised skills.

Developing disability sector workers, to better support people with disabilitiesdisability

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) – a joint venture between the Disability Reform Council and the Integrated Market, Sector and Workforce Strategy – provides a clear plan to align market, sector and workforce development activities.

An estimate of 50,000 more jobs will be created through the NDIS in Australia – including organisational support workers, personal assistants to people with a disability, allied health therapists, case managers, local area coordinators, mental health nurses and support workers.

A new online Disability Induction Program helps new employers make the switch to the disability sector, and existing employees to the NDIS.  The courses look at fundamentals like the importance of choice and control, understanding diversity and putting person centred approaches into practice.

The program is a great way for people exploring a career in the disability sector, but with its consumer-directed care, a trained workforce remains critical for a fully functioning disability sector.

90,000 more disability care jobs in 6 years

Within the next six years, Australia will need an additional 90,000 disability care and support workers undertaking job roles that are yet to be accurately defined.

The workforce must be able to deliver high quality care in the most efficient way and able to function within a ‘community-based’ decentralised model of care.

The majority of health and community care providers are charitable or not-for-profit organisations funded by government.

The cost of training – in staff time and away from duties – is greatly impacting on the ability for the industry to drive reform.  But the cost to society of not investing in workforce development may end up being far greater.

So, what skills does are actually needed to work in the disability sector?

Customer-oriented skills are key

With a career in disability, it’s about people’s lives… and every day is different.

According to National Disability Practitioners, people with disability are now looking beyond traditional qualifications, and choosing their support staff based on a range of skills, qualifications and aligned interests.

Soft skills are important.  This includes communicating effectively, working collaboratively, being able to problem solve and resolving conflict.

Requirements for the disability workforce include being:

  • Patient, flexible and understanding
  • Naturally supportive and caring in nature
  • Strongly commitment to the rights of people with disabilities to live dignified lives
  • Able to accept responsibility
  • Effective communicators
  • A team worker
  • Able to cope with the physical demands

Flexibility, adaptability and positivity are crucial in everyday duties – as well as being compassionate and down to earth.

Preparing the disability sector with a skilled, savvy workforce is a blend of the right people, trained well.

Planning your workforce can help make sure you have the right people and that you achieve a professional, sustainable workforce with the skills to deliver quality services.

Workforce Blueprint can assist you to design a practical workforce plan or you can do it yourself.  If you’d like to chat about ensuring your workforce is ready for the full implementation of the NDIS, please contact Wendy Perry via

January 2016


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