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VIC Disability Workforce Information & Resources

NDS Victoria is committed to raising the profile of disability workforce issues and supporting members to more effectively manage, attract and retain sufficient and appropriately skilled workers.

We have an active Workforce Planning Advisory Group and periodic workforce forums. Many other organisations and government bodies are also undertaking activities on workforce related issues. Topics covered on this webpage include:

NDS Workforce Projects & Activities

Policy Papers and Resources

Workforce Research Reports & Data

Workforce Related Websites 

NDS Workforce Projects and Activities

NDS Victoria Workforce Strategy

In 2011 NDS Victoria developed a Workforce Strategy (PDF 840KBRTF 365KB) as part of the development of a Transition Plan to prepare disability services for a National Disability Insurance Scheme. A Discussion Paper (PDF 458KBRTF 176KB) was developed in September 2011 to inform this work. A December 2011 presentation (PPT 2.51MB, RTF 79KB) provides an overview of the Workforce Strategy.

The Strategy identifies goals, strategies and initiatives to prepare the disability sector to address workforce issues in relation to each of 6 objectives:

  1. People in specialist and mainstream disability services understand and embrace self-directed service and support
  2. Policy, funding and regulatory environments reinforce and facilitate a nimble and responsive workforce
  3. Workforce planning at sector, local and organisational levels is supported by current and timely information
  4. Disability jobs attract and retain sufficient people with the required skills
  5. People engaged in service delivery have the skills, knowledge and attributes they need.
  6. Capable leaders and managers drive the transformation of the disability sector

The following initiatives are identified as priorities:

  • Facilitate services to collaborate in providing stable, full time jobs while maintaining client choice.
  • Review the disability support worker (DSW) role:
    • update DSW role description and skills in the context of self-directed approaches
    • distinguish general support from more specialised skill levels within the role
    • map career development structures and pathways both within the sector and into related roles and sectors
    • identify implications for service pricing models, industrial provisions and competency standards and skill sets within the CSHISC training package
  • Identify and apply tailored solutions to address workforce retention.
  • Investigate and promote innovation in structuring services, training, work packages and job design.
  • Explore options to more effectively utilise the available workforce.
  • Facilitate and resource regional networks to explore disability workforce issues and disseminate leading edge practice.
  • Review and extend existing training to prepare board members to transition to the new market environment.
  • Adapt and roll out the Carecareers initiative in Victoria to raise awareness about work opportunities in disability.
  • Scope options to provide a funding stream to sustain and increase investment in skills development for both the paid and informal workforce (requires national coordination with input from Victoria)

NDS Victoria - Disability Workforce Database Project

In 2009/10 NDS conducted a major project identifying and analysing data on the Victorian non government disability workforce. A Public Report (PDF 2.28MB, RTF 1.55MB) and executive summaries of the Workforce Capacity Review (PDF 110KBRTF 57KB) and Employee Review (PDF 111KB, RTF 65KB) are available.

A full set of powerpoint slides (PPT 783KB, RTF 220KB) used in presentations about the Workforce Data are also available

NDS Workforce Conference

Presentations from the 2009 NDS Workforce Conference are available.

NDS National Workforce Project

This project involved pilots of recruitment and retention strategies in selected organisations across Australia. Outcomes include:

Please contact Sarah Fordyce if you are interested in obtaining write ups from pilots addressing:

  • "Managers are the key to Retention", The Barkuma Management Learning Program
  • "Attracting, Retaining and Developing Staff - Regional Workforce Issues", Bedford Industries
  • "Increase our pool of part-time and casual staff from an older demographic" , Interaction Disability Services
  • "Work conditions for Personal Support Workers", Karingal Inc
  • "Job Redesign and Staff Retention", Keppel Community Care
  • "Workforce issues re capacity, performance, engagement, upskilling and retention", Koomarri
  • "Attraction, redesign of Coordinators Role, supervision" , Lower Great Southern Community Living Association Inc
  • "Avoidance of panic hiring, current staff working extra shifts, team leader stress, clients missing out on programs and needing to change training or other plans", Oakdale Services
  • "Support workers: recruitment; skill gaps; and low credibility of disability roles", Optia Inc.
  • "Retention of staff and investment in effective retention strategies", Somerville Community Services
  • "Workforce: attracting young people; male support workers", Valmar Support Services Ltd
  • "The effects of systematic performance support and development on Team Leader and Direct Support Worker retention", Yooralla

Policy Papers and Resources

Workforce Strategies & Policies

In 2011 Skills for Care, UK, released a Workforce Development Strategy for people working, supporting and caring in adult social care, and a related Action Plan.

The DHS Barwon Region developed a Disability Workforce Action Plan (PDF 642KB) in 2010.

2009 NDS Position on Minimum Qualifications for Disability Workers (PDF 142KBWord 44KB)

In 2008 DHS developed a Disability Workforce Strategy: Improving supports for people with a disability 2008 - 2013 with significant input from NDS, disability service providers and other stakeholders. It identified actions in four areas:

  • strategic approach to workforce improvement
  • attracting workforce
  • enhancing job satisfaction
  • learning, development and support.

A summary (Word 68KB) is available.

DHS also produced an Implementation Plan (RTF 3.11MB) for the Workforce Strategy and a guide to workforce related Resources (RTF 3.08MB).

Workforce Capability Tools

The Office of the Community Sector has developed several useful capability tools:

  • Community Services Workforce Capability Framework (PDF 1.25MB). This tool assists not-for-profit organisations with the recruitment and retention of staff, performance management, and career planning by listing the skills, knowledge and attributes needed in a wide range of emerging and current jobs in the sector.
  • The Workforce Capability Framework Toolkit (PDF 1.7MB, Word 750KB)
    The toolkit describes many of the applications of the Workforce Capability Framework, and includes scenarios and examples.
  • Workforce Capability Cards - individual layout (PDF 537KB), 4 per page (PDF 436KB) or (Word 1.54KB)
    The Capability Cards describe the capabilities, and can be used for a range of human resource functions, including building a job description, providing guidance in performance appraisal and professional development. If you would like to print the cards, we recommend downloading the PDF rather than the Word file.

Recruitment Resources

CareerOne Hunting the (Hidden) Hunters: Attracting and Retaining Talent in 2012 (PDF 3.45MB). Contains useful data about social media trends with recruitment, and a profile of the 'Social Work and Charity' sector in terms of employment attributes.

Best practice recruitment and selection - a tool kit for the community sector is availaible from the DHS website
Developed by the Office of the Community Sector, the Best Practice Recruitment and Selection Tool Kit describes the end-to-end recruitment and selection process, from planning the selection process to evaluating how successful it was. It includes information sheets describing each stage of the process.

Best practice recruitment and selection templates:Introduction, Planning, Assessment Plan, Position Description, Defining the attraction approach, Interview scoring Reference Checks, Individual applicant scoring, Induction checklist andGap analysis assessment tool are availiable on the DHS website.

The templates for recruitment and selection processes can be downloaded and adapted to suit an individual organisation's needs.

See also: Recruitment and Retention in the Community Sector: A snapshot of current concerns, future trends and workforce strategies (PDF 130KB) Victorian Council of Social Service 2008


VCOSS has developed a Guide on Skilled Volunteers for Community Organisations (PDF 2.60MB).


Investing in Leadership Development  (PDF 353KB). Developed by the Office of the Community Sector, this identifies leadership skills and knowledge unique to the sector and assesses the adequacy of current resources and opportunities for leadership development.

The Victorian State Service Authority has a number of resources relating to Succession Planning.

Development Networks and Collaborative Arrangements

Developing Organisational Support Services and Networks  (PDF 2.20MB). Developed by the Office of the Community Sector, this considers options around expanding the range of information, resources and supports available to community organisations to help them meet their objectives.

Bullying at work

Anti-bullying benchbook (PDF)

Anti-bullying guide (PDF)

Flowchart (PDF)

Workplace bullying sample policy (Word)


Flexible Learning Advisory Group (FLAG), Workforce Research Centre, University of Sydney, 2011
Enabling workforce development: Insights from industries using e-learning

National VET E-learning Strategy Provides e-learning information and resources on  e-learning, innovations and standards 

Managing an Ageing Workforce

Ageing workforce: Prolonging Working Lives (PDF 791KB), presentation by Assoc. Professor E. Brooke at a VHIA Disability Forum, 2010

Allied Health Staff

Shortage of Allied Health Staff in the Disability Sector (PDF 52KB), Lifestart Co-op Ltd, Sue Becker, 2011

Workforce Research Reports & Data


Workforce Related Websites

Carecareers Careers service for working in the disability and community care sector Australia wide. Information for job applicants, existing employees and hiring managers.

Community Active Careers

On-line career resource for the community services and health industries, the Community Active Careers website has input from the Australian Government, the CS&H Industry Skills Council and all CS&H state advisory bodies, and employing organisations within the community services and health industries. The Work that Matters e-newsletter provides regular updates on resources and initiatives related to careers in the community services and health sectors.

Department of Human Services: Workforce Design Strategy
The DHS Better Skills, Best Care strategy seeks to encourage health services to explore new and redesigned work roles and provide support to pilot and roll out initiatives. This website provides information on toolkits, links to further resources, and good practice project. Whilst designed for the health sector, elements of the website may be relevant to disability services.

Department of Human Services: CSO Information Portal - Workforce
The Funded Agency Channel CSO Information Portal compiles an extensive array of workforce resources and research around: workforce planning; recruitment and selection; education and training; and retention.

field promotes and models a culture of learning for people with disability, the disability services workforce and the community to create a more inclusive society. This is in the context of a broad social agenda driven by human rights.

Office of the Community Sector

The Office is undertaking a range of work relating to the community sector workforce.

South Australian Government: Building Business Capacity in Workforce Development: Employer Resource Toolkit
This toolkit contains lots of interesting and useful information to support employers with workforce development.

State Services Authority
The Victorian State Services Authority is responsible for public sector workforce planning and development. Its website contains useful information and tools some of which are highly relevant to the non government disability sector.

Worklife Balance
This website provides information, tools and notice of regular roundtables dealing with worklife balance issues.


Contact Information

For further information or suggestions for additional resources please contact Sarah Fordyce on 03 8341 4303 or

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