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Is there demand for Disability Support Workers in Australia?

by Chloe Baird
Posted: August 24, 2020

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The Disability Support sector in Australia is growing at a staggering rate, and there is high demand for qualified, dedicated people to meet the skills shortage. 

Around 90,000 workers will be required across the country to meet demand in the coming years, after the Federal Government advised that spending on disability would reach $22 billion by 2022.   

Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, demand remains high for Disability Support Workers. 

If you’ve been thinking of beginning a career in the disability sector, or are looking to move into an industry that can offer growth and stability, then studying an online course in disability support could be the first step towards a highly rewarding career path. 

What makes a good Disability Support Worker?

While there is growing demand for Disability Support Workers, the industry is struggling to find qualified people who suit the type of work a Disability Support Worker carries out each day. 

Because while many people working in the industry will tell you that it’s both fun and hugely rewarding, working in disability means there will be good days and bad days. Especially when you’re working with people who are living with a disability and have a complex range of needs. 

Here are some of the traits and qualities that make a good Disability Support Worker:

  • Excellent communication skills. Your communication skills will help you to develop strong rapport with your clients, and allow you to communicate your ideas, updates and concerns to your colleagues, employers, family members, or other support services. 
  • Patience. Working with people who are living with a disability can be fun, active, and rewarding; but you will also need to have an endless source of patience when your clients are not having a great day. 
  • Empathy. Living with a disability can be challenging. Disabilities can affect people in many different ways, and some will require a higher level of care than others. But it’s important that even though you may not have experience living with a disability yourself, that you can empathise and connect with your clients. 
  • Enthusiasm. You need to bring your enthusiasm and passion for the job every single day. Your clients will appreciate you all the more for it. 
  • Passion and drive. To work in disability support, you need to be dedicated to helping people with disabilities live their best lives. You need to make sure you’re giving it your all every single day. 
  • Integrity and ethics. As a Disability Support Worker, you’ll also be an advocate for those living with disability. You’ll need to have a strong sense of integrity, and the desire to always do right by your clients.

You can also read our interview with Stephanie, a Disability Support Worker under 30, who shared her insights, thoughts and opinions on what it’s like to work in the industry.

Do Support Workers also manage personal care?

Boy in wheelchair with disability support worker

The daily tasks of a Disability Support Worker are wide and varied. Mostly because your clients will all require different levels of support. Some clients will require help with basic tasks, while others will require personal care. 

Disability Support Workers can work in community centres, in private homes, group homes, hospitals or other facilities. 

Some of your clients might only require a low level of support, and you might help them with their grocery shopping, cleaning up around the house and driving them to and from appointments. Other clients may need a higher level of care, and you’ll need to help them with things like eating and taking care of personal hygiene. Because the role of a Disability Support Worker means that you’ll be working closely with people, it’s expected that you’ll always practice discretion so that your clients feel respected. 

As a Disability Support Worker, you might also find yourself involved with organising and supervising outings and arranging activities for fun (like craft and music) and to help develop life skills (like teaching cooking). 

How do I become a Disability Support Worker?

At Open Colleges, you can study disability online with the CHC43115 Certificate IV in Disability. This course will help you learn advanced care skills and give you leadership training, so you’ll be job ready by the time you graduate. 

While you can work in disability without formal qualifications, a Certificate will help your resume stand out and prove to prospective employers that you’re serious about pursuing disability support as a career. 

If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to work in disability support, now is the time to find out. This is an industry with strong growth that needs qualified, dedicated workers who are ready to make a difference in peoples’ lives. 

So if you’re ready to follow a rewarding career in a growing industry, then start studying today. 


Chloe Baird

Chloe is an Open Colleges alumnus who now works full time for OC as a Content and Copywriting Specialist. She is passionate about encouraging others to pursue their goals through education.

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