Thousands of jobs have been created across Queensland over the past two years through the growth of the National Disability Scheme (NDIS), with employment in the community services sector set to keeping growing.
New research revealed in the 2021 Strengthening Queensland’s NDIS Workforce report, released today, shows the number of NDIS participants has almost doubled from 55,000 in 2019 to 102,000 at 31 December 2021, contributing to a workforce that grew by 44.8 per cent (42,200 in November 2019 to 61,000 in November 2021).
Growth expected to rise
The report, led by Workability Qld and Jobs Queensland, shows the number of active NDIS participants is expected to continue to more than double over the next decade, creating additional demand for workers, with NDIS-related occupations predicted to be some of the fastest growing jobs in Queensland.
The report is the second released as part of a three-year research project investigating impacts on the labour force since the scheme’s rollout in 2016.
Research involved 430 employers, employees, sole traders, and self-managed participants, who shared their regional insights into the NDIS, including impacts felt during COVID-19, skills and attributes most in demand.
The report aligns with further findings from Jobs Queensland’s Anticipating Future Skills series which highlights the State’s largest growth in jobs in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry by 2024-25.
Government backs sector’s growth
Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development, Di Farmer, said the 2021 Strengthening Queensland’s NDIS Workforce report provided valuable insights into the growing needs of the disability sector.
“The research and findings outlined in the report by WorkAbility Qld and Jobs Queensland highlights the issues which are impacting the disability support sector, and the training, skills and workforce development needs of this important sector,” Minister Farmer said.
“The Queensland Government is working to address current and future workforce challenges by working with industry to manage workforce changes, plan for the future of work in Queensland and improve labour market outcomes.
“We are doing this in a range of ways, important among them being the major Workforce Summit the Government convened in March this year and the Queensland Workforce Strategy now under development that will articulate and specify in concrete terms the way forward.”
Industry a huge contributor to economy
Community Services Industry Alliance CEO Belinda Drew, on behalf of the WorkAbility Qld Consortium, said this report demonstrated the integral role of the community services industry in job growth and the wider economy.
“The report shows that through pandemics and other challenges, community services organisations and their workforce not only deliver essential services but also provide career and job opportunities,” she said.
“It’s imperative that government and Industry continue working together to address workforce growth and building a skilled and diverse workforce.”
“Through the WorkAbility Qld consortium we have collaborated with the disability sector and wider Industry to deliver activities and resources to build a stronger NDIS workforce, creating employment, education and professional training opportunities.”
Fastest growing jobs
Employers interviewed as part of research indicated that workers most in demand are direct support workers (98 per cent), allied health professionals (74 per cent) and support coordinators (50 per cent).
More than fifty per cent of employers said that the Certificate III in Individual Support was the preferred qualification for working in the sector.
Themes and actions for the future
The report provides insights into emerging workforce themes, including a move of workforce towards preferred mode of online and mixed mode training, and a need for greater workforce attraction and diversity, such as young people, males, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, to reflect the increasing diversity of NDIS participants.
A set of three ‘actions forward’ outlining ongoing investment required to build the sector highlight NDIS workforce planning and development, skills and training, and data and jobs growth.
The Strengthening Queensland’s NDIS Workforce 2021 report can be downloaded here.
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Picture 1: Front cover of the Strengthening Queensland’s NDIS Workforce 2021 report.
Picture 2: Community Services Industry Alliance CEO Belinda Drew holding the Strengthening Queensland’s NDIS Workforce 2021 report.