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Regional Workforce Connectors: What Support is Available?

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12/04/2019

Workforce under the NDIS presents both challenges and opportunities. It is undoubtedly the largest job creation project in the history of this country.

In the 'Growing the NDIS Market and Workforce Report 2019', the Federal Government states that:

  • One in five jobs created in Australia over the NDIS transition period will be disability care jobs
  • Approximately 71% of newly created jobs are expected to be support worker roles, 12% allied health service roles, 11% case and social worker roles and 6% managerial roles.

Some of the questions the NDIS workforce expansion raises include, where will this workforce come from? How will it evolve? What skills and experience are needed to fulfill the positions available? What qualifications will deliver the skill sets required by NDIS participants and organisations in this new world of choice and control? 

Regional Workforce Connectors are part of a new Disability Workforce Innovation Project funded by DHHS, that aims to support the disability sector workforce. 

The Regional Workforce Connectors role is to listen to a broad range of local stakeholders and to capture issues and contributing factors to workforce in the disability space. This team will work on local solutions, as well as assisting in accessing funding grants, offering workforce tools and resources and increasing relevant workforce data to discover what organisations are finding does and doesn't work for them in the current environment. 

As Regional Workforce Connectors, we can see an evolution of issues across Victoria as our reach extends further and wider including: 

  • Difficulty in attracting and recruiting entry level Disability Workers
  • Difficulty in recruiting and retaining Allied Health Professionals
  • Complexity around the Therapy Assistant role
  • Training that isn’t meeting the requirements for care workers operating within a person-centred approach. For example in the instances where a smaller number of support workers doing a range of care tasks is preferred by people with a disability receiving service in their own homes.
  • NDIS Pricing making it difficult to provide supervision and ongoing training to workers
  • A lack of qualified, experienced and suitably equipped managers willing to work in the sector in rural and regional area
  • Challenges in seeking a fit for purpose ICT system that supports workforce planning and management, finance including service billing and customer service
  • A lack of strategic workforce planning and management data and capability 

The lack of workforce data within organisations hampers strategic workforce planning and management.

Your Regional Workforce Connector is here to help you address these issues by spending time with you to understand the specifics of your business and to work with you to overcome these challenges.

Regional Workforce Connectors will also be running Grant Design Workshops in a town near you very soon. These workshops aim to help providers learn how to design projects that will lead to strong workforce innovation and produce proposals that meet the requirements of funding opportunities.

Boosting the Local Care Workforce Transition Assistance Funding grants opened on the 23 March and will close on the 26 April and are designed to support eligible organisations apply for funding of up to $20,000 to purchase tailored supports including business advice, professional services and software upgrades to assist in boosting capacity and capability as service providers.

The Transition Assistance Funding aims to assist organisations to:

  • Attract retain and optimise their workforce
  • Improve awareness of the opportunities and ability to enter, expand and collaborate in the disability sector
  • Develop skills and capabilities required to effectively operate in a competitive disability market.

This is a valuable opportunity for those in regional and rural communities to seek funds to support their development into this new NDIS world which is full of opportunities and growth.

Further funding of $1.3 million will soon be available from the Victorian Government.  Contact your Workforce Connector to hear when grant applications are open or attend a Grant Designs Workshop.

Regional Workforce Connectors are travelling across Victoria and are ready and willing to meet with you to address your specific workforce challenges. They can be contacted as follows;

Wimmera South West and Barwon: Georgia Henderson - Phone: 0436 820 097

Mallee, Loddon and Central Highlands: Andrew Gibbs - Phone 0436 820 096

Inner and Outer Gippsland: Chris Hawken - Phone 0436 820 089

Goulburn and Ovens Murray: Clare Malcolm - Phone 0436 820 087

Project Lead, Dianne Hardy - Phone 0436 820 088

Contact information
Dianne Hardy, Project Lead, Disability Workforce Innovation, 0383414309,