There are a lot of children that need a lot of support, and it seems like there are not enough resources to meet that need, even now.
Sydney, NSW (PRWEB) May 11, 2011
People thinking of a career change should consider employment in the disability and community care sector with up to 5,600 jobs anticipated to be up-for-grabs between now and 2015 in northern New South Wales.
The sector is set to boom in the next five years with employers looking to recruit 40,000 people because the number of people who may require these services in New South Wales is expected to rise to 350,000.
Alstonville resident Sarah Jurd began working in disability services and community care 13 years ago and has held a number of roles in that time: teacher's aide, respite carer, support worker in vacation care, and most recently, speech therapist with Cerebral Palsy Alliance.
"My parents were respite carers so I got involved at a young age because of them. We had a little girl with disabilities who came and lived with us for a while, and I learnt to help her and found that I enjoyed it," says Jurd.
On the growth in the sector she says, "I have definitely seen an increase in the demand for our services in the last few years.
"There are a lot of children that need a lot of support, and it seems like there are not enough resources to meet that need, even now".
For those who are considering a career change into the sector Jurd says, "It's important to remember that clients are people who would like to be independent and just need some support to achieve that."
"One of the benefits of working in the disability sector is that I work as part of a bigger a team no matter what area I've worked in; as a speech therapist I work closely with both occupational therapists and physiotherapists to find solutions to problems.
"I love working with the kids and their families; no child is ever the same and each client presents a new challenge for the team," says Jurd.
"The work is also personally rewarding; I started out working with one family as their Respite Carer about 12 years ago, to support them and their children who have a disability. The family is as much a part of my life now as my own family is, and spending time with the children over the years has been great fun".
To help meet the demand for new workers in the disability and community care sector a NSW government-funded workforce recruitment initiative, carecareers, exists to connect prospective employees with opportunities in the sector.
More than 100 positions based in Lismore and the surrounding areas have been advertised through carecareers since its launch 12 months ago.
"There are several misconceptions about what it is like to be a disability support worker, yet most people simply aren't aware of the benefits including: job security, flexible hours, varied and creative work, and on-the-job training," says Patrick Maher, Chief Operating Officer of National Disability Services NSW.