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Could a job in the disability sector be your next career step? These five questions can help you decide

Looking for your next career step? In a sector that’s growing fast? Where you can make a real difference in someone’s life?

Then a job in the disability sector might be perfect for you!

The disability sector is a large and growing field and is set to continue to expand over coming years with additional investment from the federal government’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), as well as demographic changes. There’s a wide range of rewarding job and career options, so it’s likely you can find one that would suit your experience, skills and interests.

But if you haven’t worked in the disability sector before, you’re probably not sure if it’s a fit for you. Here are five questions – and answers – to help you decide:

1. What jobs and careers are offered by disability services?

The disability sector offers multiple job and career opportunities, and the sector is set to continue growing due to increased National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding.

While you might immediately think of “frontline” disability support work, there are literally hundreds of other types of jobs in the disability sector that all contribute in different ways. Disability sector careers can be grouped in four broad areas:

Administration and Management Jobs and Careers

Administration and management roles are vital to support and lead organisations so that they can deliver high quality services, operate efficiently and effectively and support people to obtain the services they need. These roles can vary from reception and general administration roles to senior and executive management positions.

Disability service organisations may be small or range up to large multi-state organisations offering services in multiple locations. There are a variety of roles to suit a broad range of interests, skills, experience and qualifications. Some of the roles include:

  • Reception and front of office administration
  • Finance and Accounts, Human Resources, Policy, Legal
  • Rostering
  • Front line Supervisors
  • Planners and Coordinators
  • Service Coordination, Program Management
  • Service Management
  • Chief Executive Officers

Everyday Support Jobs and Careers

Everyday Support is working directly with people to support their daily life. Each person’s support is individualised to their own unique needs. Some people need assistance to complete and undertake tasks, whilst others might engage support to build their capacity to do tasks independently. This support is therefore highly varied and can include a wide range of activities such as: exploring a person’s interests in their local community; supporting them to access social activities; developing life skills such as budgeting, paying bills, or preparing meals; supporting everyday tasks like getting ready for work; undertaking travel training and living independently. You might be working in an individual’s home, in a centre or workplace or also out in the community.

Job Support Jobs and Careers

Providing Job Support includes working directly with people to support them in finding and keeping a job. This can include discovering a person’s skills and interests, finding and creating suitable roles, coaching on the job, supporting applications and interviews, providing information to employers, coordinating job development and training. Supporting people with their work can include coaching and training people on the job, or sourcing and organising support and modifications needed in the workplace.

Specialist Support Jobs and Careers

Specialist supports vary and include many professional disciplines, which aim to build a person’s capacity to do tasks independently and increase quality of life. The setting will vary from schools, playgrounds, workplace, people’s homes and in the community. Specialist supports in these areas are generally tertiary qualified in a specialist area and will usually work with people with disability in mainstream settings. These workers may become ‘registered providers’ to provide support to NDIS participants and include:

  • Occupational therapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Speech pathology
  • Psychology and
  • Positive behavioural support
  • Other specialist support roles include:
  • Social work
  • Art and music therapy
  • Auslan Interpreting

And whether you are looking for a long-term career, or a great job while you study or care for your children, there are full-time, part-time and casual positions available.

2. What skills do I need to have a great career in the disability sector?

There are many and varied entry points to your career in the disability sector to match your own experience, skills, interests, training and/or qualifications.

Careers in disability suit people with effective communication and relationship building skills, as well as the willingness to learn and develop. Disability work is informed by a human rights-based approach that promotes inclusion for all in every aspect of life.

Some of the attributes of successful workers in disability are:

  • The ability to work in person-centred ways that are culturally appropriate
  • Digital literacy skills, and
  • The capacity to foster a person’s ability to exercise choice and control in their life.

3. What are the benefits?

If you’re looking for more flexibility, greater challenges, and for a career that is better aligned to your personal and professional values, then the sector is for you. Working in disability has some great benefits for both your career and your life:

  • Work life balance;
  • Workplace flexibility, especially for parents and people studying;
  • Full-time, part-time, or casual hours;
  • Variety of work tasks;
  • Working near home;
  • Salary packaging; and
  • Job satisfaction – Knowing you are making a difference

4. What’s it really like to work in the sector?

The carecareers website has been sharing the true stories of people working in the disability sector, showing the incredible impact that people working in support services have every day.

This is Talia’s story. After a rocky experience at primary school, Talia’s family set a goal of getting her to high school successfully. The incredible collaboration of a team of disability support workers helped Talia and her family reach this great achievement — watch their story below:

Or explore more true stories on the carecareers website by clicking here.

5. What can I do next?

Start by taking the carecareers quiz to see what sort of job in the disability sector might be the best fit for you.

Or if you’re ready to start your job search, check out some of the great disability services jobs available on the site now!

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