In the lead up to the 8th Annual National Disability Summit we have been joined by Dr Jodie Goldney from The Professional Practice Academy (PPA) to discuss the NDIS and other burning issues.
Jodie mentioned to me in the research stages that it is expected that the number of people employed in the disability sector will more than double over the next 2 years, as a result of the NDIS. In your experience, what are the current challenges being faced by those employed in the disability sector, as a result of the NDIS?
Jodie: I think there are a number of challenges being faced by those employed in the disability sector, as a result of the NDIS, and for those doing the employing!
For front-line staff, first and foremost is ensuring that they are a good fit for their role. This is so important both for the staff and the client. I think this is important to ensure that good practice is being used, and also ethically, to prevent the possibility of abuse. Research shows us that people with a lived experience of mental illness and/or disability are already more likely to be the victims of abuse.
In our currently de-regulated workforce marketplace few systems are in place to ensure this does not happen. Through my work as a crafter of attributional tools, and as Manager of the Professional Practice Academy we are redressing that.
Informa: What concerns do you have for the future of the workforce?
Jodie: It is expected that the numbers of people employed in the disability sector will more than double over the next 2 years as a result of the NDIS. However, to date, role-specific, person-centred, practitioner-informed recruitment tools for the community services sector, remain relatively under-developed at the national and international level, and our industry lacks sufficient formal mechanisms to support necessary workforce growth. This is an incredibly important area that needs development for the sector. Whilst there are a few online, fun quizzes being promoted by the sector at the moment – I, for example came up as being a good bus driver- ha, and if you had seen my driving record, that is not a good outcome for anyone!
In contrast, the methodology and philosophical frame underpinning the build of the attributional tools, makes none of these assumptions. It deliberately positions the lived experience of mental illness and/or disability as inherently valuable, and it is that experience which forms the lynchpin of each new attributional tool. As consequence, the build of these attributional tools, creates a space of structural reform, such that the experience of people with a disability will directly inform who it is that works in the NDIS.
Informa: What does it mean to be ‘NDIS ready’ and what advice can you offer individuals/ organisations experiencing challenges?
Jodie: Being NDIS ready for me is all about recruiting excellent staff, and helping them to evolve in their roles through the provision of quality training and support programs.
Informa: How important is access to training and education? And how will the online platform support the growth and needs of the required workforce?
Jodie: A substantive percentage of our population is rural and remote. So online, and app downloadable access to education and training is particularly important in the Australian setting.
PPA provide RPL services, internationally recognized certifications, and a platform from which industry driven and relevant education and training is available to all members of the community services sector, including those with a lived experience of mental illness or disability, and those in rural and remote locations.
In providing a cradle-to-grave solution to recruitment and workforce needs within the sector, mainstream services are provided with a flexible vehicle with which to build workforce capability. Additionally, this support may help reduce the risk of workplace stress, professional misalignment with roles to be performed, and client abuse.
The PPA platform is scalable to support over 500,000 members (individuals and/or organisations). Additionally, the platform is built on state-of-the-art analytical tools, which allow the PPA to capture, and continuously respond to the education and training needs of the sector in a contemporaneous and forward-thinking manner.
Informa: You have experience in the mental health sector and have developed a patent pending, world first mental health support worker attributional tool. Can you explain a little bit about this tool, how it may be used, and what are the benefits to users?
Jodie: The tool provides new and existing staff with an opportunity to become more aware of their strengths and weaknesses in relation to the mental health support worker role. Taking approximately 45 minutes to complete in full, the tool is formatted as an online quiz, exploring how well the individual performs on nine, industry bench-marked attributes. Alternatively, the individual can choose to complete each attribute section of the quiz separately, saving the content and completing sections as and when you can.
Successful completion results in the learner gaining an overview of their performance against these attributes. Employers are able to use the tool to determine good fit with the mental health support worker role, or to identify areas of challenge which may require additional education and training.
For workers with a lived experience of mental health, taking on peer support or other roles, it will also provide information to help build workplace wellness plans.
Individuals, and employers gain insight around areas of strength in this role, and this opens up opportunities for professional development and growth. This information can then facilitate the provision of targeted training and development pathways, and increase the likelihood of successful role matching. The responses in the tool are moderated by qualified academics and confidential, and could also be used to monitor progress over time as a worker gains experience.
Informa: You will be attending both days, and hosting a workshop with Jackie O’Connor from The PPA on Wednesday 10th May titled, ‘Marketing yourself into the NDIS future’. Without giving too much away, what can attendees expect from the workshop, and why should they attend?
Jodie: A hands on, interactive, and problem solving approach to the social media concerns of your organization. We will explore the best tools to market you within the community services space, and demystify the noise around marketing your business via the digital world. We will cover social media platforms and email marketing, and look at how to grow your following.
We look forward to the event, and to meeting new people brought together by a common interest and passion, and to run into old friends.
For further information about the National Disability Summit please visit here.