How to become a Disability Support Worker

It’s estimated that there are about four million people in Australia who have some form of disability, which is about 18% of the population. Clearly, the extent of disability can vary and so the level of support needed is different for many people. Nevertheless, the need for that support is growing.

There were 175,800 people employed in the disability support industry in 2018 and that’s forecast to grow to 245,000 by 2023, a rise of 39%. Employment prospects are therefore increasing and so there’s an obvious opportunity to become part of a sector that has exceedingly good job prospects as well as providing a challenging and exciting career.

Characteristics and Training you need to have

As a disability support worker, you’ll provide care and support for people who have varying degrees of disability. This may be provided in their own homes but can also be in institutions such as hospitals, care homes and clinics. Support can range from doing basic jobs such as cleaning and gardening to more comprehensive care that looks after the wellbeing of individuals and offers companionship.

To be a disability support worker, you need to:

  • have a commitment to people’s rights and a wish to support them so they can live their lives with individuality and dignity
  • be able to accept responsibility and to work independently or as part of a team
  • have a compassionate nature and be patient
  • have good communication skills and the physical ability to cope with the demands of the job
  • have a driving licence or other means of transport, especially if working in people’s homes.

No formal qualifications are necessary for a career in disability support. However, many companies will demand that their employees have some form of training and experience and, even if not, you’re more likely to find a really good job if you have them.

As a basic minimum, you should aim to have:

  • vocational qualifications, such as a Certificate III in Individual Support or a Certificate IV in Disability
  • an NDIS Workers Screening Check
  • a Working with Children check, or a Working with Vulnerable People check, depending on the type of work you plan to undertake
  • a First Aid Certificate that may be useful in emergencies.

Starting and Furthering your Career

Some organisations require their workers to have experience and that may be difficult to obtain when you’re just starting out. Acting as a volunteer will help you gain experience and at the same time boost your résumé. Some companies do provide traineeships for those who are new to the industry.

Once you have made a start, you should then aim to constantly improve and to increase your chances of advancing in the industry. This can be achieved by adding to your formal qualifications, such as by studying for a Bachelor of Social Work degree, and by taking on different responsibilities.

At Perth Healthcare Support Enterprise, we have openings for all types of disability support workers who have the necessary qualifications and attitude. We can provide a varied workload, exciting challenges, good rates of pay and the opportunity to develop your career across all aspects of social and respite care services in Perth.

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