“I love this industry. It’s not about coming into work, doing an 8-hour shift and leaving. It’s so much more than that. For some people we can be their eyes, their ears or their hands.”
– Disability support worker, a quote from the United Voice submission to the Productivity Commission.
Disability support work is an occupation growing strongly in Australia. It is a flexible, varied and truly meaningful role. Support work offers the unique opportunity to make a direct difference in the lives of others to help them live more independently.
As a support worker, you will have the opportunity to use empathy, problem-solving skills, people skills and kindness to transform the lives of the people you work with, in a role where every day is different.
As a disability support worker daily tasks may include:
– Assisting with personal care
– Support with minor medical assistance such as taking medication or managing insulin levels
– Taking part in training and staff meetings
– Providing domestic assistance such as dressing and cleaning
– Monitoring clients and writing reports on their health and wellbeing
– Assisting with social activities, employment and skill-building
Because every person has different needs, no two clients and no two days will be the same.
If this sounds like something you would enjoy, support work might be for you.
Hold my hand and walk with me.
We must break the back of social inequity;
We must empower every individual with a disability
To live with dignity in an inclusive society.
— William E. Lightbourne
How do I become a disability support worker?
There is a wide range of roles available in disability support work. The needs of people with disabilities are as varied as the range of support workers available. Some support workers are registered nurses, some support workers have certifications, and some are people who learned by experience.
In Australia, there is no certification that you must have to work as a disability support worker – you can do your training on the job.
However, if disability support work is your passion and you’d like to make your applications as competitive as possible, you can get certifications to add to your resume.
The best certifications to develop your skills and showcase your ability as a disability support worker are:
– Certificate IV in Disability
– Certificate III in Individual Support
If you work with a supportive disability support provider that invests in their staff such as Focused Health Care, you can get your certification while you work – and get the best of both worlds!
Although you don’t need a qualification, there are a couple of things you need to check off your list before you apply:
– Get a police check. Because you are working with vulnerable people, roles in support work require you to have a police check before you begin. Don’t worry, it is not too difficult to get one. It’s as simple as getting your identity documents together, paying a small fee, and heading down to your local post office. You can even do a police check with Australia Post online.
– Get a disability worker screening. This is a check that every person working as part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme must-have. It ensures that you are safe to work in roles with people who have a disability. You can get this check when you apply for your first role with a disability service – they will send you the paperwork you need and help you to complete this quick and easy check.
– Working with children check. This is the last check that you will need to complete. In Queensland, this is often called a Blue Card. You can apply for this check online here.
– Current first aid certificate. Because you will be working with people who have a disability where you may have a duty of care to make sure they stay safe, many workplaces want you to have a current first-aid certificate. This can easily be obtained through a short course of just a few hours.
– Current COVID-19 vaccination as per Australian government regulation.
To get your first job as a support worker, the best thing you can do is put yourself out there – send out your resume and start asking questions. If you are interested in working for Focused Health Care and you have any questions about what you need to do to get started, call us on 1300 201 351.
We are currently seeking friendly, compassionate, enthusiastic support workers to help our clients to live life to the fullest.
Don’t wait to join one of the biggest growth industries in Australia with flexible work that changes lives – apply now.