Disability workers’ pay, training and conditions behind the times
Out-of-date training, poor conditions and low pay are holding Australia back from delivering the high-quality disability services people deserve, Future Social Service Institute Director David Hayward has told a federal inquiry.
Presenting to the Joint Standing Committee inquiry into the market-readiness of NDIS services, Professor Hayward said while Australia is moving forward with the NDIS, recognition of the importance of its workforce is lagging way behind.
“In aged care it’s recognised that it’s time to dramatically improve workforce training, pay and conditions, and this needs to happen for the disability workforce too,” Professor Hayward said.
“Approaches to training reflect the old disability services block funding system – current qualifications are not fit-for-purpose and low rates of completion highlight the extraordinary inefficiency of the training system.
“We need a root-and-branch review of qualifications, with more course content co-designed with NDIS participants and people who work in the disability sector. It is vital the voices and views of people with psychosocial disability are sought and heard.”
In aged care it’s recognised that it’s time to dramatically improve workforce training, pay and conditions, and this needs to happen for the disability workforce too.
Professor Hayward said the compliance culture in VET education was inhibiting TAFEs’ ability to support world-class training.
“We have internationally recognised researchers at FSSI who cannot teach our Certificate III in Individual Support students, due to rules and regulations around delivery of VET programs. We also have experts from the field unable to step into classrooms to share their experience with students for the same reason.”
Professor Hayward said he was also keen to see people with disability actively encouraged to acquire the qualifications they need to enter a rewarding career in the social service workforce, in classrooms made all the better by the diversity they’ll help to create.
Healthcare and Social Assistance is Australia’s fastest growing industry, driven by the introduction of the NDIS, a rapidly ageing population and an increased response to family violence.
The Joint Standing Committee is set to report to Federal Parliament by 23 August 2018. You can read FSSI’s full submission to the inquiry here.