Launch of innovative aged care traineeship for people living with disability

28th October, 2021

JFA Purple Orange, in collaboration with five aged care and two disability employment providers, have launched an innovative model to offer traineeships for people living with disability.

Under the program, funded by the Department of Social Services and Department of Innovation and Skills, nine candidates have been employed as carers in aged care and will complete a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) CHC33015 through training provider EQUALS International.

Each of the participating aged care providers; ECH, Eldercare, Kalyra Communities, Amber Aged Care and St Anna’s Residential Care Facility have been engaged in co-designing the model, including recruitment, supervision and support of the nine people living with disability.

CEO of Amber Aged Care, Dominique Evele says, an important part of the project has been identifying the recruitment barriers for aged care providers.

“As a registered nurse and person who lives with disability, I have been able to draw on my personal experiences to help employers think differently about disability.

“We can adjust our current recruitment processes to be supportive and inclusive. We can meet for coffee instead of a formal interview and have alternate pathways for functional assessments that are safe and low risk.

“Without a change to our approach, we miss out on the opportunity to employ a group of committed and compassionate people who have much to offer our industry.”

CEO of JFA Purple Orange, Robbi Williams says, people living with disability remain one of the most discriminated populations in Australia, and this is particularly so in employment.

“This project is not about charity. It’s about recognising that a diverse workforce, including employees living with disability, is good for business.”

Matt Muvhill, General Manager People & Culture at ECH says, the aged care workforce has high recruitment needs.

“Through this model we aim to demonstrate that employing people with disability through a traineeship is a viable recruitment strategy for the aged care sector.”

All nine trainees are excited to begin their journey to meaningful employment, with this being the first opportunity for many to work in the community.

Trainee Ashely, of ECH, admits it’s been difficult to find work.

“It gets very disheartening when you try your best and fail, so to get given an opportunity is fantastic.

“The benefits of learning from experienced colleagues and being paid a wage throughout the traineeship is not lost on the group. I’m learning and doing, so by the end of this first year, not only will I have the certificate, but also the experience.”

Disability Employment Program Service Providers, Barkuma and Maxima will provide on the job support to trainees as they progress through the traineeship and into ongoing supported employment.

Aged care providers interested in participating in this project can contact kellieh@purpleorange.org.au or visit the Purple Orange website.