This project has been funded by National Disability Services ACT Workforce Impact Collective (WIC) which aims to increase choice and control of people living with disability by improving the quality, capacity and sustainability of the ACT disability workforce. The funded projects will look at improving how the workforce is attracted, retained and sustained.
Why our project is important
Finding the right support worker for people living with a disability can be challenging. Evidence suggests that not enough workers are entering the sector and the demographic of a disability support worker is predominately female, older and of Anglo-Australian background and therefore, not as diverse as the clients they support. Nor do support worker feel like they have enough training to fulfil their role adequately.
Findings from a recent survey of ACT Disability Support Workers by Workforce Impact Collective – ACT found 83% of respondents reported that their job satisfaction is derived from direct client interactions which included enabling clients to develop skills and achieve goals. Conversely, wider literature consistently identifies role ambiguity and lack of role guidance as significant issues in support worker job dissatisfaction.
Social role valorisation theory informs us that, in order for people with disability to experience the good things of life, we need to pay close attention to ensuring that both the person with disability and their support workers are seen in positive roles that society values. The focus of this project will be on defining a valued role the person with disability wishes to hold, developing a clearly defined description of the support they will require to perform that role, and recruitment of the right person to support them to attain, and maintain, that role.
This project will focus on recruiting role specific support. The interests and goals of the person with disability will determine the type of support person they will recruit. We will look within the community to recruit the role specific support as opposed to a general support worker role. It is likely that those recruited would be from a wider demographic: for example, people might be recruited into the role of sports coach, a communications mentor, home-maker, job coach or personal assistant.
This project will also support people to orient their new staff with a meaningful and purposeful induction process that will enable the staff to fulfil their role effectively that will align with the goals of the person with disability. The quality of the relationship between support workers and people living with a disability is fundamental to the ethos of the NDIS – giving people living with a disability the choice and control to live the life they choose. A strong relationship ensures that people living with a disability have the right support to meet their goals and the support worker is empowered to provide support.
This project will play close attention to the experience of not only the person with disability, but also the support workers recruitment and induction experience. Focusing on engaging role specific support staff with an emphasis on the person’s’ interests and goals would provide clearer role guidance and is expected to lead to higher job retention. Better understanding of the characteristics wanted in a support worker could also lead to a shift in the way providers recruit staff. This is particularly the case as providers look at ways to develop their business model in a competitive market.
What we will deliver
- A literature review of best practice recruitment
- An analysis of how the role of support workers is described in job advertisements
- Participants will be supported with a roles based recruitment framework and resources and supported to recruit staff for specific roles
- Participants will be supported to induct new staff through the development of an induction framework and resources
- Resources to support individuals with disability/families who self manage to recruit support workers into their role will be published on our website
- Resources to support individuals with disability/families who self manage to induct support workers into their role will be published on our website
How to get involved?
Please complete our expression of interest form