Blairlogie leads the way with student placements

Blairlogie Living & Learning is a non-profit community organisation based in South Cranbourne, Victoria that has been supporting people with disability since 1987. It is a small organisation, anchored in its community, and with a strong values base.

Our projectABLE student program was keen to collaborate with Blairlogie because of their enviable record with student placements. Sandra Shaw, Blairlogie’s Human Resources Manager, is the driving force behind it.

Sandra tells us that the student placement scheme was started with a ‘not-for-profit mindset’ of getting free pairs of hands to share the load. However, it soon became apparent that the arrangement had much more to offer both Blairlogie and the students.

Many of the students who take up the opportunity are studying for their Certificate IV – the level at which Blairlogie would hope to hire. Others are working towards a Certificate III or diploma. Around 90% of them come to Blairlogie from four local Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) to fulfil the 120 hours requirement of their courses.

At the introduction stage, Blairlogie takes the time to find out about the students’ strengths and hobbies. It uses this information to match them with compatible Disability Support Workers. Many of Blairlogie’s programs are group activities, which offer a great way for the students to acclimatise. Over the course of the program, Blairlogie learns more about the students’ individual characters and skills. This is important in the context of the NDIS where, increasingly, support workers are recruited to work with specific individuals with particular needs.

The student placement program has now been running for over 3 years. Sandra can honestly say that of the 250 who have been through it, there were only two or three that she would not consider employing. Blairlogie has employed over 70 of the students that have completed their placement with Blairlogie.

Of course, as a small organisation, Blairlogie cannot take them all on as employees. However all those who complete the program take Blairlogie’s ethos with them, to the benefit of other employers.

Younger students also get an opportunity to participate, courtesy of Blairlogie’s strong community links. Partnerships with local schools see pupils as early as Year 6 coming in to do activities with Blairlogie’s customers. Sometimes it might be just to hang out or kick a footy around.

On other occasions, it has been training and sports coaching for the Tri State Games. Two current employees had their first contact with Blairlogie in Year 10. Both returned regularly until they secured their Certificate IV and subsequently found work with the organisation.

Blairlogie shares projectABLE’s ethos that exposure to people with disability may not necessarily lead to a career in the disability sector. What it can also do is make them better citizens who treat people with disability with respect, and accept and accommodate them in whatever walk of life.

Sandra says she gets a call ‘every couple of months’ from somebody who has had previous experience of the organisation: “I came in Year 6 and Blairlogie left a strong impression on me”. It is proof that you never know where small connections might lead…

Route 66: State of the job market, and executive and HR roles

In this issue: 

  1. The state of our job market
  2. Senior & HR roles on the carecareers job board

1 The state of our job market

There is a common perception that the disability, community and aged care sector is a contra indicator for the broad job market.  When the latter is buoyant and jobseekers are spoiled for choice, demand for our roles wanes.  When the wheel turns and opportunities in other industries start to dry up, there is more interest in the vacancies in our sector.

So what’s happening now?  The ANZ job index shows the number of Australian job ads currently falling at the fastest pace in over 5 years.  It’s not the whole story, as ABS data shows job vacancies at a historic high, but the pace of growth is slowing.  Does that mean the care sector can expect a rush of new talent?

Our own data for the first quarter of 2019 shows the number of job ads posted on carecareers up 15% year on year, and the numbers of job applications up 23%.   We are by no means the whole market, but we hope that that these trends are indicative of what is happening for you.  After all, with 90,000 workers being required for the NDIS and the aged care workforce needing to triple in size, we are going to need all the help we can get.

The full Route 66 bulletin includes a comprehensive news round up and more. Have it sent to your email inbox

2 Senior & HR roles on the carecareers job board


Senior Advisor – People, Safety and Culture – Life Without Barriers, Canberra


Operational Manager – Sahara Services, Sydney

Chief Executive Officer – Autism Spectrum, Sydney

CEO, The Cardoner Project – Brooker Consulting, Sydney

Executive Manager – The Disability Trust, Newcastle

Chief Executive Officer – Blooming HR, SW Sydney

Senior Executive Manager  – ABRS, SW Sydney 

Senior Corporate Partnerships Coordinator – St Vincent de Paul, Sydney

CEO Social Enterprise / Sydney – Brooker Consulting, Sydney

Chief Executive Officer  – South West Sydney Legal Centre 

Manager – Life Skills & Experiences – Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Sydney NW

Human Resources / Work Health & Safety Assistant – Hart Services, Lismore

Senior HR Business Partner – St Vincent de Paul, Sydney

Employee Wellbeing & Safety Business Partner – Southern – Australian Unity, Albury

Employee Wellbeing & Safety Business Partner – NSW/QLD – Australian Unity, Newcastle

Employee Wellbeing & Safety Business Partner (Indigenous Identified)Australian Unity, Wagga Wagga

WHS & HR Consultant– ABRS, Sydney CBD (Ultimo)

Recruitment Consultant – Contract Desk – ABRS, Sydney CBD (Ultimo)

Learning & Development Coordinator – Unisson Disability, Sydney N, Beaches


State Return To Work Officer – Queensland – Opal, Gold Coast

Management Roles – Guide Dogs Queensland – N. Brisbane


General Manager, Client Services – Disability Living, Adelaide


CEO/ CYDA – Brooker Consulting, Melbourne

CEO / Bendigo – Brooker Consulting

Recruitment Consultant/Resourcer – CareChoice, Clayton

Recruitment Consultant – Child Protection/Youth Welfare – CareChoice, Clayton

Community & Employee Wellbeing Consultant – Australian Unity, Melbourne

Employee Wellbeing & Safety Lead – Australian Unity, Melbourne

Employee Wellbeing & Safety Business Partner– Australian Unity, Melbourne

Recruitment Consultant – Geelong  – CareChoice, Geelong


General Manager Opal Carine – Opal, Perth

General Manager Alfred Cove  – Opal, Perth

You can also find Marketing roles among the many roles on our job board

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A workplace that welcomes difference

Multiculturalism – where everybody has equal rights, no matter what your culture or background – has been official policy in Australia for over 40 years now. And it works. Our society is by no means perfect, but multiculturalism enjoys a remarkable degree of support and acceptance here. Australians celebrate the fact that we benefit from the richness of sharing our lives with people of different cultures, ethnicities, religions, ages, sexual orientation and disabilities.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in the disability, community and aged care sector, where we live multiculturalism every day. There is a reason for that. Employers understand the benefits of drawing on the experience and wisdom gained from many different backgrounds and cultures.

A recent survey highlighted that our sector has a higher percentage of workers born overseas than any other. It shows that in 2016 (the most recent year for which figures are available), 37.1% of Australia’s 295,324 frontline care workers were born overseas. It is up from 31.2% in 2011, and higher than the proportion of overseas-born workers in the total workforce (30.6%).

The carecareers team knows this well as we talk to people from an amazing range of backgrounds. We learn so much while talking to people about their career direction, it is one of the joys of the job.

What matters in this sector is the kind of person you are. If you have something to offer, you will be welcomed, regardless of the colour of your skin, who you worship or where you are from. And that is exactly as it should be.

The blog was written at a time when we are still reeling from the horrors of the Christchurch massacre. Our thoughts are with everybody who lost friends or relations, the people of Christchurch and the Muslim community everywhere. We stand with you.