Is competition driving workforce development in disability support services?

The quarterly report for June 2015 on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) delivered a strong message to service providers about the industry’s future.

With 17,303 people or just over 83 per cent of participants in the trial scheme opting for individualised plans since it rolled out in July 2013, and 95 per cent of these rating the scheme as “good” or “very good”, Australians with a disability and their families have signalled their approval for a health reform that supports self-determination.

The ability for clients to choose how and where their entitlements are used based on their individual needs has moved service providers into a competitive environment, effectively signalling, soon rather than later, the end of block government funding.

Workforce development is now a top priority for the industry as demand for quality care services continues to grow. By 2051, it is estimated there will be 4.1 million people aged over 65 with a disability.

Changing government policy focused on consumer directed care or person centred care, coupled with higher consumer expectations, are forcing service providers to rethink how they work, so they can continue to operate as viable businesses.

An important first step is to upskill the current workforce, helping them make the important mindset shift from the traditional one size fits all approach to the new person centred or consumer directed care approach.

Chisholm Institute’s Aged Care and Disability facilitator Sharell Bertram notes that, “Quality workforce training is holistic, enabling carers to be both reflective and responsive to client needs. It is training that equips them both physically and mentally.”

Our problem-based learning approach embeds critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration and teamwork to help staff work effectively in an increasingly demanding industry that requires more service integration and education.

Already, the evolution of consumer directed care and the adoption of digital technologies have created new job opportunities and broadened work scope and skill requirements that cover client coordination, advanced and specialised care, business management, administration and IT.

Government policy and funding changes are the other factors driving innovation and productivity in workforce development.

We work closely with employers and key stakeholders in designing and delivering customised training to provide particular workforce solutions. Whether they require skills in chronic disease care, management or multicultural and literacy awareness, Chisholm is taking the lead in providing training in consumer-directed care.