The Community services industry in Australia is growing year on year, with thousands of jobs being added across the country in many different areas such as youth work, counselling, social services, individual support and more.
This sector in Australia is full of rewarding job opportunities, where employees work to better the lives of the community around them.
Choosing a career in the community services sector is a decision to make a positive impact on the world, helping people to live happier, healthier lives. One of these options is to work in the disability services sector.
A career in disability services is like no other. You’re helping someone live their best life, and there aren’t too many industries where you can say that. But how do you know if it’s the right career path for you? Here are five signs that now might be a good time to start a career in disability service.
You’re ready for a new challenge
When you wake up in the morning, are you excited to go to work? Do you feel inspired? If your answer is no, perhaps it may be time to start thinking about a change of career. While it can be a daunting prospect, there’s nothing more exciting than opening yourself up to new opportunities. If you’re looking for a career than inspires you, challenges you and makes you want to get out of bed every morning, disability services is an ideal choice.
When you work in disability services, you have a profound impact on someone’s life. You’re providing care and support to someone who needs it most and helping them to become more independent and confident in their own abilities. Every day is a chance to do something different and make a difference.
You want to help people
We all want our work to mean something and have an impact, however small. If you’re feeling like the work you do is no longer as rewarding as it once was, and you want to make more of a valuable contribution, it may be time to switch gears. Perhaps you’ve always been someone who has taken on a caregiver role with the people in your life, or maybe you like to motivate others and thrive on social contact. A career in disability services is a great way to harness those skills – and your desire for change – to help others.
Your life has changed
Perhaps you’ve had a life change recently, whether that’s starting a new family, relationship or moving to a new state. Whatever it is, you’ve realised that your priorities have changed. What you used to value in a job is now different, and your job no longer matches your lifestyle.
If you’re looking for more flexibility and choice in how, where and when you work, a career in disability services can provide just that. As a Disability Services Worker, chances are, you will most likely be doing shift work, which means you can throw out the typical 9-5 desk job and replace it with something that fits into your lifestyle. You will have more flexibility to choose the shifts and days you want to work. You’ll be amazed at how much lighter and happier you will feel, knowing you have more choice at work and you’re not sacrificing family time for a career or visa-versa!
You want to do more
Do you feel like your skills are being utilised to their full potential in your current career? Are you being challenged enough to feel fulfilled? Working in the disabilities services industry, each day is different from the next.You’re constantly being challenged and learning something new – about yourself and the people in your care. You could be doing anything from facilitating group outings for the people in your care to helping with daily household chores. You could be creating programs to help your clients develop their own skills and abilities, or simply just being a shoulder to lean on. You’ll be meeting new people and having new experiences all the time. Most importantly, you’ll be pushing yourself to do better every day, to get the best possible outcome for your clients. If one thing is for certain, you will never be bored!
Job security is important to you
The disability services sector is booming. And if job security is important to you, this is one industry that won’t be slowing down anytime soon. According to a recent employment report released by the Australian Government, the Healthcare and Social Assistance sector is tipped to grow by 16.1% (or 250,500 new jobs created) over the next five years. This is largely being driven by Australia’s ageing population and the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). So, the conditions are ideal for anyone looking to get into this sector, especially when it comes to job security.
There are also lots of different paths you could take with a career in disability services, from a Behavioural Support Officer in a respite centre to a Disability Support Worker or a Senior Personal Care Assistant in a group home. And the best part is that your skills are transferable. Below are a couple of examples of roles beyond personal support workers that may be right for you.
Giving people with disabilities a voice
Mona Ismail, a communication technology design officer with Scope, was also inspired to study and work in the disability sector by her brother, who lived with a brain tumour for most of his life. ‘It affected his development and education,’ Mona says. ‘He had to relearn a lot of things after having surgery when he was younger.’ She says this career is her way of trying to stay connected.
Formerly a freelance graphic designer and artist, Mona now helps design communication aids for people with communication or complex communication needs. She strongly believes in trying to give people with communication difficulties a voice. ‘I would like to be part of the solution or anything that would empower people to express themselves’. Ismail says she has also found an unexpected sense of belonging working in this field.
Common misunderstandings about the sector
Many people assume you just need to be extremely caring or benevolent to work in disability and inclusion, says Associate Professor Patsie Frawley, of Deakin’s School of Health and Social Development, but she says what is really needed is a critical mind and a strong conviction to rights and equality.
‘Many students are surprised how politically informed you need to be to work in the disability sector.’ Dr Joanne Watson, a lecturer in disability and inclusion at Deakin, agrees it takes more than a caring attitude. Some of the many skills required include an understanding of policy and legislation, strong critical analysis and problem solving skills.
Key benefits of working in disability and inclusion
Dr Watson says one of the joys is the human connections you make with people from all walks of life. She says there have been big changes in the sector, thanks to shifts in legislation and attitudes. ‘With this shift comes a need for policy and practice mechanisms designed to support people with disabilities to be fully included in a range of areas that previously were inaccessible.
This makes the job opportunities in this space literally endless.’ Assoc. Prof. Frawley says people with disabilities aspire to the same things in life as everyone: love, education, money, respect, family, friends and fun. Working in the disability or community sector you can advocate for the human rights of people with disabilities to make sure these aspirations become reality.’
If you are starting on your career path or thinking of a career change then check out the roles we have available at www.qualityhealthcare.com.au/careers