The Start of Something Really Incredible


Since the roll out of Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme in July 2016 increasing numbers of disabled people have access to health service providers and a better lifestyle. Today around 400,000 Australians receive benefits from the NDIS, more than double under the previous scheme.

With the sudden and significant increase in the demand for their services the disability sector, while evolving rapidly, has struggled to meet the needs of those who are now able to access their services. Coincidentally this environment has emerged at a time when Australia is crying out for health care professionals and as such new measures are required to meet the needs of the growing demand.   

Vision 2020

One project that’s working towards delivering better outcomes is a collaboration between Southern Cross University and TAFE Queensland on the Gold Coast. The partnership is a result of Study Gold Coast’s Vision 2020 program, which provides funding for new initiatives between education and training institutions and industry. 

In a sector where there are significant staff shortages the Community Health Services and Recruitment event flips the traditional notion of job seekers chasing potential opportunities on its head as 10 disability providers pitched to an audience of students and graduates in a bid to attract their talent. The service providers outlined their organisational structure, goals, team culture and programs as they highlighted their passion and commitment to the disability sector and the difference they’re making to the lives of their clients. 

Following these pitches, students then had the opportunity to meet the service providers one on one to gain a better understanding of what they offer and to try and find the right fit for their career goals. Last time TAFE Queensland and Southern Cross University ran this program 86% of students and graduates secured employment after attending the event. 

Students meet health care providers

A Wealth of Opportunity 

With 30,000 more positions opening up in the Queensland sector to meet the demand pursuing a career in the disability sector will undoubtedly provide a wealth of opportunity. As former ICU nurse and now SCU Nursing Course Coordinator Lucy Shinners said when she addressed the room “the health industry is never going to go away, so you’ll always have job security.”

When you take into account Australia’s ageing population the prospects are even brighter. Kylie Hogan, the Lead Regional Coordinator for the Community Services Industry Alliance pointed out: “the real boom will be ion the aged care workforce, which will need to triple in size over the next 20 – 30 years.

Never Too Late

Choosing a career in the health sector isn’t just about the job prospects. It requires dedication and empathy with a burning desire to help others, and in a sector that’s continuing to grow, it’s never too late to start. TAFE Queensland Gold Coast General Manager Karen Dickinson shared the story of Ben, a 59 year old who had always wanted to work in the health care sector but thought he was too old to change careers. Today he is happily employed as a disability support worker after having studied at TAFE.

For every health care worker the reasons and motivations for choosing their career path will be as individual as they are and from Lucy Shinners’ perspective infinitely rewarding. “I’ve had a wonderful career that has taken me around the world. For many of you this is going to be the start of something really incredible. Enjoy the journey.”     

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