Building the workforce and developing the market

Carecareers and ProjectABLE

This project aims to increase the disability workforce by attracting a diverse range of staff to the sector and encouraging students to consider a career in the disability sector.

Organisation: National Disability Services (NDS)

Timeframe: 2013–17 (current)

Location: Initially in New South Wales and Trial sites, and now in all Trial and Early Launch sites

Overview: This project recognises the immediate need to recruit and retain workers in the NDIS Trial and Early Launch sites and the longer-term need to develop a stronger and more diverse workforce to meet growing demand in the disability and community care sectors.

Carecareers provides a platform to connect service providers and potential employees through a disability-specific job board, and a quiz to help potential employees work out where in the sector they would fit best.

ProjectABLE runs workshops to educate high school students about the range of career opportunities in the disability sector and encourage them to think differently about disability. Some of these workshops are run by people with disability.

With initial funding from the Sector Development Fund, Carecareers and ProjectABLE were expanded from NSW to all NDIS Trial sites. Carecareers was advertised online and on television, and local service providers were registered with the platform. ProjectABLE state coordinators oversaw the delivery of workshops in local high schools.

Carecareers and ProjectABLE have since expanded to Early Launch sites. Carecareers is offering all NDIS registered service providers free job listings on the job board, as well as recruitment and communication advice. Carecareers resources have also been expanded to meet demand: the quiz is now available in 10 new languages to suit diverse employees and job seekers, and a ‘Course Hub’ lists disability sector training courses. ProjectABLE is in contact with all secondary schools in the Trial and Early Launch sites, is conducting promotional campaigns to target secondary school careers advisors, and is engaging local affiliates to deliver workshops.

ProjectABLE has found that time is needed to build the capacity of state coordinators and workshop presenters. Experienced state coordinators can use their existing relationships to quickly set up workshops, resulting in significantly higher attendance rates. Experienced presenters are more likely to inspire students to consider a career in disability and local presenters can be more effective in remote and Indigenous communities.

Outcomes: This project contributes SDF Outcome 4—assist with the expansion and diversification of the workforce required to meet increased demand.

Both Carecareers and ProjectABLE have received positive feedback. The Carecareers website has had steadily increasing traffic and job applications in all states and territories. The website and job board have gained particular traction in larger Trial sites and among larger organisations. More than 70 percent of students from ProjectABLE workshops reported being inspired to consider the possibility of working in the sector and 100 percent of teachers polled would recommend the workshop to their peers.

Project resources: You can access news, resources, the job board and employer directory, the disability induction program registration and more information about courses to advance your career in the disability sector through the Carecareers website (external).

You can access news and resources about ProjectABLE and high schools can register for a workshop through the ProjectABLE website (external).

Key contact details:

Carecareers:

ProjectABLE:

You might also be interested in:

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Innovative workforce fund

This project aims to identify innovative approaches to workforce development and promote more efficient and effective ways for providers to meet the needs of NDIS participants.

Organisation: National Disability Services

Timeframe: 2016–18 (current)

Location: National

Overview: This project recognises the need to expand and develop the disability workforce to ensure it is skilled to meet future requirements of the NDIS.

This project has two components. The first component provides targeted funding to pilot about ten different innovative workforce initiatives, aligned with the following streams.

  • Redesign support worker roles and test new work roles, including strategies to improve access to allied health-related supports in areas of thin supply, such as shared workforce and allied health assistant models.
  • Streamline administration practices, such as human resources and the recruitment and retention of staff, including work arrangements that demonstrate more effective workforce utilisation, supervision and support.
  • Enhance the role of technology in workforce practices.
  • Workforce development in rural and remote areas (including Indigenous workers), and strategies to build capacity to attract and develop the workforce in thin markets.

The second component is building an evidence base of the different workforce models that can be applied to the disability sector.

Outcomes: This project contributes to SDF Outcome 2—increase capacity of people with disability and their families to exercise choice and control and develop new forms of support to meet the needs of people with disability—and SDF Outcome 4—assist with the expansion and diversification of the workforce required to meet increased demand.

It will stimulate and disseminate new, more efficient and effective ways for providers to engage, develop and utilise the workforce to meet the needs of NDIS participants and enable the sharing of evidence-based practice across the industry.

Key contact details:

Email: Caroline.Alcorso@nds.org.au
Phone: 02 9256 3180

You might also be interested in:

  • Providers that have recruited workers who are new to the disability sector: accessing the Orientation Package to prepare workers to understand key concepts of the NDIS and working with people with disability.
  • Providers looking to enhance the role of technology in their workforce practice: the NDS ICT Planning and System Selection Project resources, activities and workshops.
  • Providers in rural and remote areas looking to attract new workers:
    • finding out about the Remote Disability Worker Training package being developed by the NDIA
    • finding out about the Indigenous Allied Health Australia project to build and diversify the Indigenous allied health workforce in rural and remote areas.  

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Assistive technology mentoring

This project aimed to build the capacity of people with disability and their families to exercise choice and control around their assistive technology needs and to create a recognised employment opportunity for people with disability.   

Organisation: Independent Living Centre (New South Wales and Tasmania)

Timeframe: 2014–2015 (Complete)

Location: New South Wales and Tasmania

Overview: This project recognised the potential to facilitate access to, and use of, assistive technology by reducing reliance on allied health professional prescriptions for less complex items.

It developed a competency-based training resource (equivalent to Certificate IV accreditation), to provide people with disability and carers with the knowledge and skills to mentor, inform and support others with their assistive technology needs, including aids, equipment and home modification. Pilot Assistive Technology Mentors from the NSW Hunter region and Tasmania were then recruited and trained.

Outcomes: This project contributed to SDF Outcome 2—increase capacity of people with disability and their families to exercise choice and control and develop new forms of support to meet the needs of people with disability—and SDF Outcome 4—assist with the expansion and diversification of the workforce required to meet increased demand.

Project resources:

The Certificate IV Assistive Technology Mentoring Training Guide (external), developed by Independent Living Centre NSW.

You might also be interested in:

  • Finding out about the South Australian Assistive Technology Equipment Repair Training Project.

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Growing and diversifying the disability accommodation market

Specialist disability accommodation initiative

This project aims to help meet immediate needs for specialist disability accommodation outside of NDIS Trial sites and cohorts.

Organisation: Active Community Housing Ltd, CatholicCare Tasmania, Community Living and Respite Services Incorporated, George Gray Centre Inc., Home Occupiers Mutual Enterprise Inc., Housing Plus, Julia Farr Housing Association Inc., Portland Lighthouse Home Inc., South Australian Housing Trust, Uniting Church in Australia Property Trust (Victoria), Uniting Communities Incorporated and Yumaro Incorporated

Timeframe: 2016–18 (current)

Location: Twelve projects outside of NDIS Trial sites across New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia

Overview: This project recognises the immediate need for specialist disability accommodation in locations outside of NDIS Trial sites and among non-Trial cohorts during the NDIS transition.

It is providing a total of up to 10 million dollars across 12 specialist disability accommodation projects, delivered by non-government organisations selected through a competitive grants process. The selected projects were: ‘shovel-ready’ and able to be completed within two years, but likely to be delayed or not completed without additional funding; met an identified need; had community support; and could be sustained beyond the funding.

Selected projects range from fitting new builds with assistive technology to topping-up funding for a small group of families that are building a shared home for their adult children with disability. The projects are supporting people with disability outside of NDIS Trial sites and cohorts who are likely to become NDIS participants, with a particular focus on supporting people housed in inappropriate accommodation settings and people with ageing carers who are in need of a long-term, sustainable arrangement. A number of the projects will offer accommodation for full-time onsite carers, and facilities for families and friends to visit.

Outcomes: This project contributes to SDF Outcome 2—increase capacity of people with disability and their families to exercise choice and control and develop new forms of support to meet the needs of people with disability.

It will help to meet an immediate need for appropriate accommodation among about 100 future NDIS participants. There will also be flow-on benefits for carers and families, particularly ageing parents who themselves need to move into care.

More broadly, the project will help to identify self-sustaining specialist disability housing models that effectively support participants and could be scaled up in the future.

You might also be interested in:

  • Specialist Disability Accommodation providers: the Summer Foundation’s online toolkit explaining how to separate housing and support.
  • People with disability and their families may be interested in:
    • the Supporting Independent Living Co-operative
    • Summer Foundation’s resource bank of housing information
  • Summer Foundation’s shared equity and home ownership product.

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Supporting Independent Living Co-operative

This project aims to increase the use of innovative specialist disability accommodation options.

Organisation: Giant Steps Sydney – Supported Independent Living Co-operative

Timeframe: 2016–17 (current)

Location: Sydney and Melbourne, with view to national expansion 

Overview: This project recognises the need for innovative and sustainable specialist disability accommodation models that give people choice and control in their housing and support options.  

The Supporting Independent Living Co-operative (SILC), a not-for-profit co-operative, is supporting family co-operatives providing supported disability accommodation. It uses the ethos of “co-operation among co-operatives” to develop a system that supports co-operatives from set-up, through maintenance, to exit and closure. SILC’s role includes:

  • hosting forums for members to share knowledge, ideas and resources
  • creating a website with a range of template policies, sample documents and links to useful sites
  • developing answers to Frequently Asked Questions
  • establishing a process for matching families to pool funding to establish a residence for their children and a process for helping parents source employees
  • employing staff to guide people through the establishment and operation of small family-governed service providers of disability accommodation services, and referring them to other organisations that can provide assistance.

SILC is collecting data on the operation, impacts and feasibility of the model and providing interim and final reports to DSS and the NDIA in 2017.

Outcomes: This project contributes to SDF Outcome 2—increase capacity of people with disability and their families to exercise choice and control and develop new forms of support to meet the needs of people with disability.

It builds on the success of the Parent assisted Residential Accommodation (PaRA) Cooperative, a family-government group home in which parents determine policies and practices, appoint staff and perform hands-on roles. As with the PaRA model, SILC will:

  • support choice and control and person-centred practice
  • ensure the time parents spend with their children is less stressful
  • increase staff satisfaction and productivity
  • increase efficiency through ‘pooling’ individual package resources and drawing on parental support.

Project resources: Links will be provided as these are developed.

Key contact details:

jobattersbysilc@gmail.com

You may also be interested in:

  • People with disability and their families: the Summer Foundation’s resource bank of housing information, and shared equity and home ownership product.

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Remote Indigenous workforce development

Remote accredited training to support remote service provision

This project aims to build the capacity of Indigenous people with links to remote communities to ensure the availability of locally delivered NDIS supports.

Organisation: NDIA

Timeframe: 2016–17 (current)

Location: Northern Territory Trial site

Overview: This project recognises that disability service options in remote Indigenous communities are extremely limited and that there are substantial barriers to the recruitment and retention of service delivery staff.

The NDIA is developing an accredited Remote Disability Worker Training package that builds the skills and capacity of local Indigenous people to: provide information and refer clients to the NDIS; develop links between carers, community, government agencies and NDIS providers; coordinate care for people with disability; and provide basic personal supports and low-level therapy assistance.

The project is engaging with local communities across the Barkly region to identify 12 local Indigenous people interested in working in the sector and link them with local NDIS registered providers to undertake a six-month employment placement.

Outcomes: This project contributes to SDF Outcome 4—assist with the expansion and diversification of the workforce required to meet increased demand.

It is designed to address key learnings from the Trial in the Barkly region. It will contribute to bilateral NDIS participant targets being met; increase access to support for participants with approved plans; and reduce ‘no show’ cancellations for appointments.

The program will be evaluated and rolled out nationally to other communities if found to be effective in addressing remote service delivery issues.

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Remote and rural Indigenous allied health workforce development

This project aims to build and diversify the Indigenous allied health workforce, so that NDIS participants living in rural and remote areas have access to culturally safe and responsive allied health services.

Organisation: Indigenous Allied Health Australia

Timeframe: 2016–18 (current)

Location: Two locations to be confirmed

Overview: This project recognises that there are likely to be shortages in the availability of culturally responsive allied health services, particularly in rural and remote areas, without targeted workforce development strategies.

It involves the following activities to build the Indigenous workforce and culturally safe and responsive allied health services in two rural and remote areas.  

  • Supported telehealth pilot: A culturally safe and responsive telehealth approach to delivering allied health services in remote and rural Indigenous communities is being developed and piloted for 4­–6 months.
  • Community engagement:
    • A communication toolkit and workforce development campaign is being used to inform Indigenous people in the selected locations about the opportunities for paid work in allied health and related disability services. Any person interested in progressing a career in allied health or related services, receives an individual face-to-face follow up.
    • Community information sessions are educating Indigenous communities, as well as NDIS planners and Local Area Coordinators, about the benefits of allied health services for people with disability.
    • A model of brokerage of NDIS services is being developed to meet the needs of Indigenous people with disability in remote/ rural regions through appropriately designed allied health services.
  • Workforce development activities:
    • Selected organisations are providing training, employment, supervision and mentoring for Indigenous people who choose an allied health education or workforce pathway.
    • Where there is not a sufficient Indigenous workforce, training and mentoring are being provided to the non-Indigenous allied health workforce to ensure services are delivered in a culturally safe and responsive way.
  • To ensure an effective and locally relevant approach, project activities are informed by a literature scan, a Steering Committee, a Project Advisory Group, and a co-design approach with the selected communities. The project is also responding to emerging community needs as it is implemented. 

Outcomes: This project contributes to SDF Outcome 2—increase capacity of people with disability and their families to exercise choice and control and develop new forms of support to meet the needs of people with disability—and SDF Outcome 4—assist with the expansion and diversification of the workforce required to meet increased demand. It will also contribute to SDF Outcome 5—build the evidence base about what works.

The project will grow and diversify the Indigenous allied health workforce and develop new forms of support. This will give Indigenous people in rural and remote areas access to culturally responsive services, and greater choice and control over how they receive services.

Key contact details:

Email: admin@iaha.com.au

Phone: 02 6285 1010

You might also be interested in:

  • Finding out about the Tasmanian project to grow the allied health workforce.
  • Finding out about the Victorian project supporting greater utilisation of allied health assistants and VET trained disability care workforce.