Training Standards And Disability Employment

Regrettably most of our disability service organisations operate without any real training standards. Whilst the sector generally acknowledges it is desirable for staff to hold a Cert IV in Disability, there isn’t any real compliance regime that mandates this level of training as a base. You only have to look at the current recruitment ads to see that there is no uniform approach across the various disability service providers.

Let’s have look at disability employment as a case in point. With changes to program models over that last few years, starting with the Job Service Australia contract and recently the Disability Employment Services (DES) contract, most providers where offering staff the opportunity to undertake the Cert IV in Employment Services. Great course if you wanted a management job, but of little relevance to disability and clients with high levels of barriers. Given the cross over between those providing mainstream employment services and disability employment services, it wasn’t surprising to see this qualification offered to disability employment staff.

In the absence of opportunity and understanding, disability employment staff have been following mainstream employment services and undertaking this qualification. Again a useful qualification if you want to be the boss, but questionable if you really want to work with clients.

So what’s required? You could argue that the sector needs a whole new qualification, but whose going to undertake that investment? If you look across the many disability or community health courses there are some common units of competency such as those related to WHS, Cultural Diversity, Information & Confidentiality etc. so in that sense, you wouldn’t need to reinvent the wheel.

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About Peter Smith

Disability practitioner at Praxis Disability Consulting, PhD researcher - Sydney Medical School, Research affiliate - Centre for Disability Studies, Sydney. Lecturer in Counselling and Case Management - ACAP. Counsellor and Psychotherapist at Praxis Counselling and Therapy. Interests: Disability employment, person centred practice, self determination theory, existential therapy, personal counselling
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