If you’re interested in working in the disability sector, and trying to learn about it, four letters that will become very familiar to you are: N, D, I and S. In almost any story you read about people with disability, it’s a safe bet that ‘NDIS’ will get a mention. So what is the NDIS and what does it mean for your career in disability? Here are some frequently asked questions unpacked by the carecareers team.
What is the NDIS?
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a big change to the way disability supports and services are funded. It focuses on giving people with disability choice and control over their lives, and on helping them to achieve their goals. The NDIS has support from all sides of politics and the wider Australian community. People with disability, their families and carers, and disability service providers fought hard for the NDIS. You can read all about that journey at Every Australian Counts.
How is the NDIS changing the disability sector?
Let’s talk numbers first. The NDIS is doubling the funding for, and size of, the sector. That means tens of thousands of new job opportunities across the country.
The NDIS is also changing the nature of services delivered. Its aim is to have people with disability call the shots, and you can expect that they will have new ideas about the services they want. The result is different kinds of job opportunities, as well as more of them.
On a practical level, under the NDIS, funding is now directed to people with disability and their families, rather than to disability service providers. That means employers in the sector, who used to receive block funding from governments, now have to compete for individuals’ business. This has made life more complicated for providers but, to their great credit, it’s something they themselves pushed for. They made the call because they recognise the NDIS is all about the people they support. This speaks volumes for the kind of organisations they are.
Why am I hearing that the NDIS has problems?
Any change of this magnitude – and this really is a massive change – requires an awful lot of things to go right simultaneously. Even with the best planning in the world that does not always occur. Right now we are right in the middle of this process of change and there are genuine stresses and strains in some parts of the industry.
There have been some negative stories in the media and there will probably be more. However that should not take away from the bigger picture. There’s no argument that the ideals of the NDIS are transformational. Its ultimate goal is a better life for people with disability – and there’s enough evidence already to suggest that is achievable. Not all of the implementation has gone smoothly, but it’s in everybody’s interest to address issues quickly. Everyone in the sector wants the NDIS that they fought for and they are working hard, with governments, to fix the problems.
Should I be concerned about moving into disability work?
No. There are some teething problems with the introduction of the NDIS, but there are some amazing success stories too. This is a whole industry built around people who want to make a difference, and it’s on a strong trajectory of growth. The disability sector has an ever-increasing number and variety of roles, and it welcomes newcomers from all backgrounds.
No end of people who come to carecareers tell us that joining this sector was the best move they ever made. If you’re still on that journey, and want to know whether it’s right for you, get in touch with our team at the Career Centre on firstname.lastname@example.org