How the NDIS is changing the nature of Support Work

Mel Schlaeger

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) means choice for people with a disability (PWD) and for support staff. But what does this mean in action?

 From the perspective of a person with a disability NDIS means choice of service provider and support workers. This can also mean self-managing your support budget or having a coordinator of supports to help with paying staff and organising other aspects of your NDIS plan as required.

 In practical terms NDIS should mean that people with a disability can be in the driver’s seat of their own lives. Service providers have to be mindful that people with disabilities are now customers who can take their funding wherever their individual needs can be best met.

In my role with projectABLE, I hope to enable young people to see people with a disability as just like them, but with different support needs.  We want the students who attend projectABLE workshops to get the sense that supporting someone who has a disability is not about creating a life for the person.  Instead, it’s about walking alongside them and supporting the life they have created for themselves.

I want to acknowledge at this point that some people with disability will need more help than others to create and maintain a meaningful lifestyle. However it is our consistent purpose through disability awareness training to ensure PWD are not subject to pity in today’s society. For some students, projectABLE presenters are the first people with disability that they have met who are working.  I feel confident that in the future, young people will no longer be surprised that PWD are paid members of the workforce.

Future workers in the disability sector will have the opportunity to work with PWD who are active members of the community and who will be more confident to access the choices that are available to them.  I see the support worker/PWD relationship moving from people being grateful for the support they receive to people instead having the opportunity to connect on a genuine human level.

In the end it all comes down to respecting others and treating everyone as equals, and we can all be a small part of the mosaic that will continue to create positive change now and into the future.


Melanie Schlaegar

carecareers’ new video stars – Sarah & Liv

Sarah and Liv are two presenters from our projectABLE team – people with lived experience of disability who deliver high-energy, interactive disability awareness and career workshops to students around the country.

All of our projectABLE presenters are hugely talented with unique stories to tell, but when Sarah and Liv get together it’s not long before particularly funny anecdotes start rolling.

It’s carecareers’ mission to encourage more people to work in this sector by telling them all the good things you can experience in it.  One of those is the sense of fun.

Despite, or maybe even because of, some of the challenging aspects of the work in this sector, you find enormous warmth and good humour wherever you go. It’s one of the unsung aspects of working in disability, community and aged care and we saw an opportunity to shine a light on it with these videos.

So enjoy Sarah and Liv in action in #sorrynotsorry below. And if you like that, you’ll find more at our YouTube channel and read more about  Liv and projectABLE

True Stories: Tania Hornberg – Preparing young people for the disability jobs of the future

Tania Hornberg - True Story

Tania Hornberg is a person with a spinal cord injury trying to lead an ‘ordinary’ life in rural Queensland in all its fullness, including accessing the support for leading an active community and social life.

For years, she has been held back by having the control of funding and design of services outside her own hands. The National Disability Insurance Scheme is set to put the power back in her hands, with new, targeted support and better coordination of access and services.

The introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme will generate a growth in the sector, with thousands more job opportunities. Tania believes it is a basic human right to receive adequate lifestyle support funding, and why she is committed to sharing here experiences with young people.

“For my quality of life and in my experience as a person with a disability, it is very important that we engage with young people and make them aware that there are good careers in the disability sector,” she said.
Tania Hornberg works part-time and has recently become a workshop facilitator with projectABLE, a free program for high school students offering an interactive disability awareness and an insight into careers in the disability sector.

Her openness, out-going nature and honesty have made her a natural for the role. Ongoing training and support will help her engage with school groups, and develop new skills for her advocacy work and career.

Tania, along with a team of projectABLE presenters in Townsville, recently held her first successful workshops with mixed groups of public and private school students. It was a fulfilling experience, she said.

“I’m proud of having the opportunity to use my skills to make people aware of the range of career options available in the sector. There are a lot of young people with the nature, the aptitude and the passion for advocacy work or to be good support workers or to design the next generation of wheelchairs,” she said.

“With the NDIS kicking off, people like never before have the opportunity to look at the type of services and support they might need, think outside the square. “They’ll be saying ‘this is what I need’ and we’ll need more workers who can deliver on what people like me need.”
Tania Hornberg

Contact projectABLE