Our sector is one of Australia’s largest and fastest growing. There were approximately 3,750 unfilled vacancies in July 2021 and an additional 83,000 NDIS workers are expected to be required by 2024, neither of these numbers factor in that a third of our current workforce are considering leaving as part of the ‘Great Resignation’. There has been a number of reviews and enquiries into this growing issue and the impact it will have on the vulnerable people requiring support, with the 2021 NDS State of the Sector report highlighted that 70% of providers reported problems recruiting disability support workers.
Supporting Potential wants to partner with service providers to increase the confidence and capability of our frontline workforce. We believe one of the keys to doing this is by applying adult learning principles and investing in their continuous development. This will not only improve the quality of the current workforce but show others considering entering the sector that it is a sought after profession and a career path they should consider.
NDIS Final Report
Agreeing that there is a significant problem to be addressed in our sector, The Joint Standing Committee stated in their NDIS Workforce final report. “Critical to the sustainability of the NDIS, is a workforce of sufficient size to meet demand, and which has the appropriate skills, qualifications and expertise to deliver safe, quality supports to participants”.
There was an NDIS National Workforce Plan: 2021-2025 released in June 2021 but with an election looming only days away, there does not seem to be enough focused strategy on how as a sector we are meant to overcome this critical issue.
It’s time for individual sector leaders to step up and buck the trends of the last ten years. We can sit back and wait for the government to deliver a perfect response or as individual organisations we can raise the bar with the things we have influence over and start to make progress. The first is understanding the many causation factors within the control of an organisation’s leadership that are driving this dissatisfaction:
• A lack of career development opportunities
• Isolation from peers and a lack of opportunities for peer support
• Workers described lacking supervision and training
• A lack of job security
• An inconsistency in the hours and times worked
• A feeling of not being valued or understood
In addition to the broad sector issue of attraction, organisations need to be aware that the excessive cost of turning over a single employee can be upwards of $15,000. This means that your new employee needs to work for over 500 hours before their hours worked can start contributing positively to your overhead and margin allocations. When we think through the national statistic that a quarter of our workforce change jobs every year that cost is enormous. According to the NDIS Workforce plan, we currently have 270,000 disability employees, with 25% turnover the sector is wasting over a billion dollars per year in turnover, recruitment and onboarding.
A study from Deloitte suggested that in FY 20 – 21, employers surveyed spent on average just over $786,000, equivalent to $1,833 per employee on their development. Additionally, most of the businesses surveyed anticipate this rising in the next year. Notably, employees value this investment, with 76% indicating they see training as a sign their employer wants to invest in them, and they care about their development. The question for disability sector leaders is did you spend this much on investing in your team to come out of the pandemic stronger? Common rhetoric from our front-line employees is “No support is given. I only hear from my manager when things go wrong”. If our workforce is universally trained, we’ll see a lot less errors made. Knowledge is crucial.
So by now you are probably asking ‘ok how on earth do you train a quality front line support team with the margins the NDIS is offering and then keep them engaged with your organisation once they realise they are a superstar?’ Unfortunately, there is no single answer for this, but organisations that do act have the opportunity to build significant credibility, provide a unique point of difference to their staff and therefore have an improved quality service and market share. Fundamental to any learning plan is addressing that learning is not a one-time event or a periodic luxury. To have a great and consistent quality of service, everyone in your organisation needs to be constantly questioning what they don’t know and what could be done better.
Easy to follow Learning Modules
Supporting Potential is trying to change the learning status quo. We are releasing our online learning modules that have been designed by people who are actively working in the sector. We have collaborated with people with lived experience to ensure what they need has been addressed. Our goal is to build the learning pathways to allow you to easily support the continued professional development of your team.
We have addressed some of the common barriers to delivering training in the disability environment.
|Rostering staff on to do training and finding enough staff to be able to cover their shifts
|Each of our training modules can be completed in 20 mins or less. Allowing small amounts of time to be factored into shifts to ensure continuous learning
|Staff don’t retain the knowledge provided to them through training
|Our training program is based on repeating key pieces of information and gradually building on knowledge when their experiences grow
|A lot of direct Support Workers have English as a second language, online learning is not a viable way to teach them
|Our training modules have been tested by front line workers, where English is their second language. Their feedback is the combination of pictures, videos and easy English make them a user-friendly resource
|Many of our workforce don’t have the digital literacy to complete online learning
|Our platform is super simple to use and can be completed on a mobile phone, tablet or computer
The only way we take the NDIS from the current funding mechanism to the full industry revolution is to invest in streamlined supports. To do this well we need to acknowledge that our frontline workers are critical to delivering quality supports that leverage off the insurance-based principles. Disability Support work is valuable. We can’t underestimate the impact we can have. For our staff, for our organisations and for the people we are supporting.
Visit Training – Supporting Potential for more information on our platform and available courses.
Or Contact – Supporting Potential if you have any questions or want more information.