Entering a career in disability: Fraser Coast Time Out successfully fills a new niche
Errol Rafter knew little about the workforce growth projections for the NDIS twelve months ago, and had never thought about working within the system as a sole trader. He says he had no idea of the direction he was headed in.
Fast-forward to today and demand for his new niche service, Fraser Coast Time Out, has been completely unexpected. He went from sole operator to employing staff within three weeks of opening the doors.
“I thought maybe I could work weekends and after hours and build slowly, but within three weeks I had more work than I could handle alone,” he says.
To keep up with demand, Errol is preparing to employ another two part-time workers within the coming months.
Errol is no stranger to the support sector, with a 15 year history working in mental health support.
He says the business grew from noticing a gap in recreational activities and asking the question: ‘where can I fit in?’
He now offers bespoke services to people, often centring on outdoor experiences including fishing, bush walks, sporting events and four-wheel-driving.
Fraser Coast Time Out’s first ever customer, Wade, said he particularly likes four-wheel-driving and has been experiencing the outdoors including Teewah Beach, Fraser Island and Paradise Dam.
According to Wade, the best bit about the new NDIS has been the ability to choose and change the providers of his services. He says the best workers are those who are qualified and trained, and can work through problems helpfully.
Wade’s new support worker, Craig, says it’s a career change he’s loving.
“If someone would have said that this work would have been a good fit for me – I wouldn’t have believed them,” he says.
But now his advice to other people examining a career change is to rethink disability as a choice.
“You don’t know what you can get out of (this career) and what it will be like until you look at it.”
Craig is currently completing his qualifications and says the most important attributes are empathy and genuine listening skills.
He says he now sees this as an enjoyable long-term career, and is still surprised by the positive feedback he is receiving.
“It’s been a bit of a revelation for me.”
Those considering a Career in Disability can learn more at www.careersindisability.com.au