Local stakeholders unite to support the NDIS workforce of the future
Disability services providers, TAFEs and employment providers are just some of the many stakeholders from regions across Queensland that have been supporting their local disability sector workforce to meet new demand, needs and expectations as a result of the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
With the progressive increase in demand and available options for people with disability under the NDIS there is not only a need for significant growth in the number of workers across the sector, but also in the range of skills and abilities required.
WorkAbility Qld, the NDIS Workforce Strategy for NGOs, has been developed specifically to help build the workforce supply and capability of the disability services sector in Queensland. With the workforce needs of the sector being different across the state, a very important part of this work is the formation of local working groups in each region.
These working groups comprise of stakeholders from a range of organisations including the disability sector, education and training sectors, employment sectors, people with disability, families and carers, and relevant government departments across the region. Led by a Local WorkAbility Qld Coordinator, these stakeholders work together to develop and implement locally appropriate strategies to support the region’s workforce to transition to the NDIS.
These strategies, developed by the region for the region, have included the Careers in Disability Expo in Townsville, ‘Pop Up’ stalls in local shopping centres, and local workforce information forums.
We asked members from the South West Queensland WorkAbility Qld working group what their experience has been…
“The NDIS has been a long fought for and hard won social reform that will have lasting impacts on the lives of people with disability, their families and carers, and the entire disability support sector.
Here in Toowoomba and the Darling Downs and throughout the South West Queensland region, one of the biggest strengths of the service provider landscape is our continuing willingness to collaborate, work together, engage and support each other – across services and local areas. Moving into a competitive, market driven model, meant that there were fears that our collaboration would suffer and that service providers may lose a vital source of collegiate support. This is one reason why I joined the South West Queensland NDIS WorkAbility Qld working group – to ensure that we share learnings, ideas and strategies to make sure that we have a robust, agile workforce to meet the demands of increased service provision in a changing sector.
The benefits of participation have included forming links with other service providers, education and training providers, employment providers and representatives from government departments. The strategy that is being developed gives us clear guidance and some collaborative opportunities moving forward. I would recommend that service providers become involved and assist us to grow and retain our regional workforce to help prepare us for the future.”
Brownyn Herbertson, Disability Services Coordinator, Anglicare Southern Queensland
“Aurora Training Institute is proud of its engagement with the South West Queensland WorkAbility Qld working group. Through our active participation and hosting of meetings at our Toowoomba campus, the WorkAbility Qld working group gives us the opportunity to directly engage with service providers, organisations and students, and helps us to fine-tune our course offerings to meet their training needs.
The working group has given us a far clearer picture of what the needs of the sector are, and how we can remain adaptable and flexible in providing appropriate skills to the emerging workforce. It has been an invaluable learning experience for us and we are sure that it will add value and quality to the support offered to clients across the region.”
David Taylor, Aurora Training Institute
“Joining the South West Queensland WorkAbility Qld working group has been an excellent forum for keeping up to date with the changes and impacts on the current and anticipated NDIS workforce in Queensland; and working on a strategy to make a difference in our communities.
The group meets fortnightly and is led by the very knowledgeable and skilled local and state WorkAbility Qld coordinators Tracy and Kylie. Under their excellent guidance representatives from disability support providers, jobactives, community supports, RTO’s and State and Federal government come together to discuss what changes are occurring for the NDIS workforce and the likely impact, and develop clear regional strategies. A strategy is now in place, a blue print for how we as a community can ensure successful workforce strategies tailored to the region. Make a difference, join your regional working group and support the workforce of the future.”
Suzanne Robertson, North Coast TAFE
If you are interested in joining your local WorkAbility Qld working group contact the Local WorkAbility Qld Coordinator for the region.
For more information about WorkAbility Qld visit www.workabilityqld.org.au