7 September 2017
Exciting and Rewarding Career Opportunities for Support Workers – By Interchange Australia Consultant, Debra Burford
The disability sector in Australia is growing, and as a result, there is a higher demand for support workers.
The introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in South West Sydney on 1st July 2016 has provided eligible people with disability with more choice and control in how and when supports are provided. At Interchange Australia, we match our staffs abilities and personalities to clients’ requirements to ensure we meet their needs.
It’s important that a support worker is not only someone who is caring and supportive, but is also a person who can make people feel empowered, independent and included in the community. A career as a support worker is an exciting and rewarding one and our team of support workers are committed to providing the highest standard of care.
Attributes of a Good Support Worker
A support worker must be able to step back to allow the person they support to be independent.
One hurdle to overcome is for the support worker to put aside the feeling that they aren’t doing their job if they stand back and let the person communicate and interact directly in the community…that’s the actual aim! It’s important that the support worker facilitates a person’s independence and that can sometimes include stepping back.
For example; Stand behind the person you support, to encourage people in the community to speak directly to the person you’re supporting.
Encourage people in the community to speak to the person you support directly
As well as stepping back, you can help people in the community to communicate directly with the person you support. If the person has communication difficulties, gauge their level of comfort and encourage where possible. By doing this, you educate people in the community of equal opportunity and rights.
For example; try politely saying “Please ask [Amy]. They will let you know what they want”, or “[Amy] understands everything you said, please just wait while she types her response”
Use augmentative and alternative communication aids
Use community request cards (which is simply done by taking pictures of the items wishing to be purchased with written words if needed) to promote independence for people with communication difficulties.
Test and question your own assumptions about a person’s ability
Try not to assume that a person can’t do something, or do something for the person, thinking it will ‘just be easier’ that way. There’s definitely an art to support work, and you will learn that each person will like to be supported in their own way. If you’re not sure, ask! It’s the best way to know if you’re doing a good job, or if a person would like you to do something different.
For example; with someone with communication difficulties there may be a pause time between when the person is able to reply due to a longer processing time. Allow the person time to process your question and do not allow the need to fill the silence with conversation.
Interchange Australia has more than 80 qualified and experienced support workers proving support to people with disability from Narellan in the north to Queanbeyan in the south, and we are always looking for quality support staff to meet the growing demand. All staff have Working with Children Checks, National Police clearances, first aid certificates and receive regular training. For more information on how you can start an exciting and rewarding career as a support worker, call our Human Resources Manager, Lynne Busby, on 1300 112 334 or visit our website: www.interchangeau.org/careers