Work in the disability or community care sector appeals to many; with 63 per cent of respondents in a poll conducted by carecareers stating that this work would be either 'quite or very rewarding'. Yet only 24 per cent of people have considered a career in the sector.
Getting your foot in the door with an organisation to commence work as a disability support worker is not as hard as it may seem. Many people working in the disability sector have not had any experience initially but have simply displayed a genuine and passionate desire to work in the area.
The great thing is that organisations are really keen to meet people who are enthusiastic about joining their organisation and supporting people living with disability, to have valued roles in the community.
Employers recognise that skills are transferable from other areas. As an example of this, many people who have not had any formal training in disability support are able to provide great responses to interview questions around how they would practically support someone with a disability. Their answers may have stemmed from previous roles where their skills are transferable, or they may have had a caring role in their family, community or friendship circle.
Organisations also recognise that some people entering the disability workforce will be starting from scratch, so they have great on-the-job training opportunities. Many organisations even offer traineeships so that formal qualifications can be gained whilst you are earning an income, and with the support of the organisation.
It's important that you shop around for an organisation which aligns with you. There are so many great organisations in the sector now and it is so important to find an organisation where your personal values are aligned with the organisation's core values.
Contacting the organisations you are interested in and asking them if you could spend a few days working alongside a team member to see what the job is really like, is also a good starting point. It will give you an idea of how the company supports its staff and will show you what support is provided to people living with disability.
Working in the disability sector can be pretty flexible so if you are already working full time during the week, you could volunteer on a Saturday or Sunday for a few hours.
Of course, there are certain skills and personality traits that make a good disability support worker. These include good communication skills, reliability, honesty, a sense of responsibility and a respect for difference.
Great support workers are also people who share the same interests as the person they are supporting. They are always looking for opportunities where the person they are supporting can connect with and form friendships within their community, and they are people who are focused on finding ways that will better support a person to have an ordinary and good life.
If you are interested in becoming a disability support worker, search for a job on the carecareers website or look in the Employer Directory and find some organisations you are drawn to. You can then make the first step to entering the sector by contacting these organisations proactively.
Recognising the need to improve attraction, recruitment and retention within the community care and disability sector, in order to develop a sustainable workforce to meet the growing demands, Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC), Department of Families and Communities (NSW) has funded a workforce recruitment initiative developed by National Disability Services (NDS), NSW.
The carecareers project is designed to grow the pool of talent available within the NSW disability care sector, and to develop, implement and test a number of targeted attraction strategies. The carecareers employment website is a one-stop shop for those interested in finding out more about a career in the sector and functions much like Seek or MyCareer but also offers a careers advisory service and help-line for job seekers.
For further information, images, or to request an interview, please contact:
Tel: 1300 637 637