How to Become an independent disability support worker in the NDIS Sector?Oct 12, 2021
We know that NDIS is one of the most significant social reforms in Australia's history. The NDIS aims to give people with disabilities choice and control. It aims to provide independent living skills to people with a disability and help them participate in society. For some people with disabilities, it may be about having their daily health and well-being needs met. It is an emerging sector and, as a career choice, is now attracting more workforce.
How to become an NDIS support worker? What do I need to do to become a disability support worker? What qualifications do I need to become an NDIS support worker?
These are some of the most frequent questions I see being asked by disability support workers currently working under NDIS providers or just entering to work for the national disability insurance scheme.
Becoming an independent support worker means choosing what area to work in and what type of client to support. You may want to work with children who have autism, or You may want to work with teenagers with mental health diagnoses. You may choose to provide transport service regularly to a client to access community support. Or be there for someone who is trying to build their career. You will find that providing support, care, or assistance to people living with disabilities also gives you a better work-life balance and job satisfaction.
Many people are pulled into disability support services because they want to contribute to the community, build relationships, and have a most rewarding job. The national disability insurance scheme also ensures that you will be well compensated for your work, so the pay is good.
If you're interested in being an independent support worker, please read on as I answer some common questions and lay the pathway for your new career.
We understand that NDIS provides funding to its clients. Some of these clients manage their funding, or a family or a designated person manages their funding. They are called self-managed
Some plan managers are assigned to manage their funding, and clients collaborate with their plan managers.
Then some clients' funding is managed by the national disability insurance agency. They are called agency-managed cleints.
Who is a support worker in NDIS?
NDIS support workers provide skills or services to NDIS participants. If you work under your name and business registration, then you are an independent support worker. If you so choose, you can also be contracted or employed.
Who can become an independent disability support worker?
To become an independent disability support worker, you'll need to be at least 18 years old. You can't have a serious criminal record or any addiction. Your responsibilities are to the NDIS participant, and their safety is your priority, so there's no room for risk-taking! You can be a stay-at-home mum or a health professional. You can be a student or a retiree. You need to be the best fit for the client to deliver the care.
Training and qualifications for becoming an NDIS support worker
NDIS has a set of onboarding training programs that everyone working in the NDIS field must attend. You will find this information on the NDIS Commission website.
Training and qualifications for becoming an NDIS support worker depend on the type of service you can provide. For example, you do not need any formal qualification to provide cleaning or transport service.
But if you have a formal qualification, e.g., a physiotherapist or accountant or a registered nurse, you are in good standing with your registration body. You then can provide services that fit into your professional scope of practice ( provided your professional expertise is what your clients need).
At the same time, you may choose not to work in your professional qualification scope of practice. You can provide a service, e.g., a cleaning service.
Suppose you want to be a front-line worker. In that case, providing direct care to a person with a disability, it is beneficial to have a qualification such as Certificate III or IV in Disability Support. Many agencies need you to have a minimum of this qualification under your belt to be employed. You can study at TAFE NSW or another government-recognized provider. But this may not be enough.
As disability workers, we are bound by the NDIS workforce capability framework. You will find that it is in your favour to gain that competitive edge over other candidates. Have formal qualifications like certificate iii or certificate iv in disability services or community services.
Formal qualification and education in the field will also relay to potential employers that you invest in your chosen career. It will help you to connect with other service providers and NDIS participants.
Then you can have a high-quality service to contribute your knowledge and skills, which will enable your success as an independent disability support worker in the NDIS sector.
The process of becoming an individual support worker
Applying for NDIS
The process of becoming an independent support worker in the NDIS is straightforward if you know what you are doing. In this blog, I will explain the steps. I also do have a checklist that you can download. If you are new to the workforce itself or just new to NDIS, NDIS can be very confusing to navigate through. For a long time I thought, and I still do think that it's like entering a maze. Even the map is confusing. Hence my friend, this blog post. I had to read and re-read and then read again the same thing multiple times. But it is a sector worth pursuing, despite the challenging road map? Because once the initial hurdle is over, it pays tenfold in job satisfaction and work-life balance. So if you want to bring a positive impact in the disability sector, follow these steps.
Why do I want to work in the disability sector?
What skills am I good at?
What qualifications do I have to offer specialized service?
Do I need any more training?
These questions will guide you to make an informed choice if you are the right person to work in this field. If you think you need to develop more, there are many ways to expand your skills and knowledge.
Legalities to cover
Legalities will differ according to the state you live in.
Your business name
You can choose to work under your name or spend hours like me to find the right name. For me, the process was the same as picking the name of my children. I kid you not, it's true. I went through many names, wrote them down, said them out loud, and made other people, especially my husband, say it aloud. So choose with care, but you do not have to spend hours and days on it like me. You will need to register your business in ASIC.
Your business structure
Suppose you want to be a sole trader or a company. A sole trader will need an Australian business number (ABN), and the company will require an Australian company number. If you are only one person and do not plan to engage anyone else, the sole trader may be an initial option. Talk to an accountant. You also need Tax file number.
Remember to download the checklist.
Since we work with vulnerable clients, the NDIS Quality and safeguard commission ensures that the person working or wants to work as a support worker in the NDIS sector does not pose any threat to our clients. Safeguards commission ensures that a stringent process is in place to stop anyone who will pose a threat.
Names will differ from these documents, but you need to have working with children's checks, police clearance, and workers' screening checks. Again check your state requirement. If you want to become a registered provider with NDIS, you must have a worker's screening check. It would help if you had your working with children check, police clearance, and identity documents to apply and gain workers clearance check at a small cost. This is a bit lengthy process and worthy of its post.
Since most of the NDIS work is community-based and client orientated, we have to provide our service when they need it and where they need it, which means travelling between clients. So having a car and driver's license can become essential.
You are in luck if you speak more than one language, as this helps you serve people who predominantly talk in the language you do. At the same time, you need to be reasonably good in your English as this helps you understand the policy and procedure. The English language also helps you to meet the NDIS documentation requirements. Let this not be a hindrance. There is plenty of language help available. Knowing more than one language is an asset in Australia's diverse population. Knowing the language of clients who come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds is an asset. It also helps us to understand and, if need be, advocate on their behalf.
Media presence means do you want people to find you online. Your website, Facebook page, etc., Even a business card that you can hand out. A business email/phone number that you can keep separate from your own. As an independent disability support worker, you may have local contacts trying to stay local, and You may not need much.
Many people do not think it is essential. But if disability care is your profession, then invest in it and invest in you. Professional development will ensure you are keeping up with the skill and knowledge required and minimizing errors. For your and your client's sake, this is vital. NDIS quality asks of the disability support workers and NDIS providers are increasing. Education, report writing, and client feedback is becoming critical. Families who hire their workers are also becoming savvy and insistent on education and training. Professional development means independent support workers will need to keep up with their professional development to be competitive for work!
This post has provided you with all the information and tools necessary to become an independent disability support worker in Australia. With the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in full swing, there's no better time to get into this rewarding and fulfilling career. The checklist we've created will help you get started on your journey, but there is still much work ahead for you. The list contains information you'll need about starting your new journey. We wish you well. If you have any questions, get in touch.