Looking for a meaningful job in 2020? Working in the disability support sector can be a rewarding career that makes a huge difference to another person’s life. Whether you're thinking about a career change, been recently laid off, or want to make a difference in the work you do, here is why a career in disability support is one worth considering.
It was not already clear before, the past few months have highlighted just how valuable essential workers are in our community. Disability Support Workers are considered essential workers and provide critical services to some of the most vulnerable people in our community.
If you’re someone who takes a lot of self-fulfillment from work, disability support work is a way to contribute to society and do something you value in a moral sense.
Some other benefits include:
Flexibility: many providers have flexible or casual arrangements with their staff. For example, at Edmen, our integrated rostering platform (Edge App) gives staff the freedom to set their availabilities for better work-life-balance.
No one day is ever the same: Disability support work is varied and challenging. From helping with day-to-day living to community access activities, disability support workers work with people with a range of abilities in various ways.
Demand is high: With plenty of opportunities in the disability support sector, you can be confident that there is always going to be a need for disability support workers. Thanks to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), there are literally thousands of jobs in the sector. In fact, last year the NDIS said it expects to require extra 90,000 workers by 2022.
The day-to-day activities of a disability support worker will depend on the people you work with. But broadly speaking, support workers assist with daily physical tasks (cooking and personal care), emotional support (helping people remain connected to family and friends) and social and community access activities (companionship and social outings).
Some of the most rewarding parts of working as a disability support worker is forming relationships with people and helping them maximise their independence. This is an important aspect to the job, as often people with disabilities don’t simply want things to be done for them, they would prefer to do things themselves.
We’ve written a blog that goes into detail on this here. The short answer is no, most employers don’t require formal qualifications. But completing higher education and obtaining a National Police Checks and First-Aid certificate, as well as gaining relevant experience can all improve your chances of landing a job. A current Australian Driver’s license and form of transport is essential for community and home-based support, as is a Working with Children’s Check if you are working with people under 18.
Before applying for jobs, we recommend getting a feel for the nature of the work and learning about the different types of disabilities that impact people. Volunteering is a great way to get a sense for the sector and the types of support work you enjoy.
Working in disability work requires empathy. In other words, you need to be able to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and avoid making assumptions about people. The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations have put together some helpful tips on how to communicate with people with different disabilities to avoid rookie errors (or accidentally offending someone).
We also recommend that you complete the relevant paperwork (i.e. First Aid training and National Police Check and Working with Children’s check) to make the recruitment process as easy as possible.
Ready to go? Head over to our jobs board to check out some of the rewarding disability support roles we have open with our community service partners.