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TAFE to upskill booming south-west disability sector

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A new course at South West TAFE will respond to booming demand across the region for trained staff to support people with disabilities.

The course will help students to work effectively with a National Disability Insurance Scheme participant. It is the first time the course has been offered in the region.

The rollout of the NDIS will require about 70,000 full-time equivalent workers over the next three years, or one in five of all new jobs created.

The new course arrives as seek.com.au reveals the key occupation driving growth in community services in Victoria was aged and disability support, which made up 33 per cent of the new job ads in April.

South West Disability Network president and Cooinda Terang CEO, Janice Harris, welcomed the course, saying it would benefit existing and potential new workers in the field.

“It has been a big change for existing employees, so it will be invaluable to upskill them with a better understanding of the NDIS and how it impacts them with a more flexible workplace and focus on client choice,” she said.

“We have additional clients and existing clients who have funding for more support hours in their packages. The workforce is definitely increasing and that’s the same across the state.

“We’re recruiting people all the time and it will help if they have knowledge gained through this course before coming to the workplace.”

South West TAFE Health and Community Services teaching manager, Leeona Van Duynhoven, said the course would give students an overview of the NDIS and how to support an NDIS participant and teach them entry level skills involved with being a direct support worker. 

After completing the short course, successful students can go straight into jobs in the disability sector. The course also leads to further studies in qualifications that support those people working in the disability sector.

South West TAFE Health and Community Services teaching manager, Leeona Van Duynhoven, said the course would give students an overview of the NDIS and how to support an NDIS participant and teach them the skills involved with being a direct support worker. 

After completing the short course, successful students can go straight into jobs in the disability sector. The course also leads to further studies such that support work in the disability sector.

The course was developed by industry and employers with the Victorian Skills Commissioner in response to jobs growth in the disability sector.

It will be initially offered at the Warrnambool campus but South West TAFE hopes to expand the offering to other campuses and is keen to hear from prospective students from across the region.

Ms Van Duynhoven said the course would attract people who are interested in working in the field but want to know more about it. “There are quite a few local organisations looking for disability support workers and this will give students a good grounding in what it takes to help people with a disability to live enriched and meaningful lives,” she said.

The course starts on August 9 and will run for 40 hours over six weeks. For more information visit www.swtafe.edu.au or contact the customer service team on 1300 648 911.