With the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in 2013, four million people1 with disabilities now have more choice and control over their day-to-day lives and the support services they receive. Due to the demand for supportive care, there are more job opportunities for compassionate, patient, and positive people to dedicate themselves to this industry.
If you are interested in a career in disability support, this article is going to deep dive into the role of a disability support worker, and the qualifications and certifications you will need before you begin working.
We will also go into the work environment you will be immersed in if you decided to apply to our organization, Equality Disability Health Care Services (EDHCS).
What does a disability support worker do?
A disability support worker helps people with disabilities throughout their day-to-day life. This could take place in a variety of different locations like clients’ homes, care centers, or hospitals. Depending on the location, a support worker’s caseload will differ; some can support a wide range of clients while others may work with only a few.
This career also offers flexibility in how you may choose to work. You can decide to have a full-time career working with an agency or facility, or you can be self-employed, giving you the option to choose both your schedule and type of clients.
Here is a list of different types of jobs and sectors available in disability care:
- Personal Care
- Live-in Support
- Supported Independent Living
- Mental Health
The tasks that you will be helping clients with a range from life skills, social outings, emotional support, or improving their overall quality of life. Specifically, our support workers at EDHCS help with personal activities, group activities, social activities, household tasks, skill development, support coordination, travel and transportation, and accommodation.
What do I need to become a disability support worker?
There is no formal education or degree to become a disability support worker; only 11% of workers have completed Year 10 or below of school. However, there are a few certifications and requirements needed that will be helpful when finding and starting your career:
Certificate III in Individual Support
This certificate program combines theory with practical training to give you the skills to provide individualized, person-centered support. It will give you the opportunity to work in home disability support or in a support facility.
It takes about fourteen weeks to complete, but it’s typical for programs to last six months to a year. The core curriculum covers topics like principles of support care, healthy body systems, and safe client care practices. There are also a variety of electives to choose from to further your education. The cost of this certificate is $2900 AUD, with many provinces offering subsidies to help with tuition.
Certificate IV in Disability
This certificate provides specialized training as a disability support worker, offering you more work independence and flexibility. Since this is a higher-level certificate, it’s typically taken by individuals who have been working in the industry already because it prepares them for either a more specialized role or a leadership role.
The topics covered are similar to that of Certificate III, just at a more advanced level. The average length of this certification program is one year, and costs about $4000 AUD which might be subsidized by some provinces.
NDIS Worker Screening Check (NDISWSC)
The NDISWSC is an assessment of whether a person who wishes to work with people with disabilities poses a risk to them; it’ll determine whether a person is cleared to work in certain disability support roles. The Worker Screening Check is a requirement in all Australian states and territories.
In order to apply for an NDISWSC, you need to either be employed or about to to be employed by an NDIS provider. Please speak to your employer or soon-to-be employer, they’ll be able to advise you on whether you need to take this assessment.
Working with Children Check (WWCC)
The WWCC is a requirement for people in paid or volunteer child-related work in NSW, making sure that individuals are cleared and safe to work with children. This check lasts 5 years and undergoes continuous monitoring, even when an individual changes jobs.
NDIS Worker Orientation Module
This is an online educational module that is mandatory for all support workers who work for registered NDIS providers. It will explain your obligations under the NDIS Code of Conduct and will help you give better support to people with disability. The module is made up of four sections and takes only 90 minutes to complete.
Infection Control Training
This is another online training that is available for all healthcare workers. It covers infection prevention and control for COVID-19, training for aged care workers, and gives focused training on rural and remote communities.
If you are looking for a job outside of New South Wales, please make sure to look for the minimum requirements for your state.
The Work Culture at Equality Disability Health Care Services
If you’re looking for a rewarding place to work, Equality Disability Health Care Services (EDHCS) could be a wonderful place for you, especially if you value job satisfaction, flexible hours, and job security.
Don’t just take our word for it. Here is a statement from one of our support workers:
“Being a disability support worker has changed my life. I used to work in the financial services sector as an unsecured loan manager when I decided to change careers to help my local community. I’ve learned a lot about people, specifically how everyone is unique in their own way. Many people in our community have their own battles going on and it’s changed my perspective on disabilities and my purpose in the world. Being a disability support worker has given me the chance to become friends with some of the most amazing and talented people that I’ve ever met. I’ve also had the privilege of showing my clients skills and activities that I love. Working as a disability support worker has been exciting and fun. We’re always out and about due to all of the activities EDHCS plans. The thing that I enjoy the most about my role is that I get to be with amazing people every day while also giving back to my local community.”
EDHCS can offer you:
- Flexible shifts
- Supportive management
- Rewarding roles
- Competitive pay
- Regular work