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A model for new growth


CARE PACKAGE: Tony Tolcher has signed up to become a trainee as part of the Disability Sector Traineeship Pilot Program. Picture: Mike Burton/The Advertiser.

Courtesy The Advertiser.


A pilot traineeship program is looking to match the new job opportunities the NDIS has brought to the disability industry, writes Lynn Cameron.


An innovative new pilot program is changing the traditional recruitment model of the disability industry and opening up pathways to employment within the growing sector.


A partnership between state and federal governments and National Disability Services (NDS), the Disability Sector Traineeship Pilot Progam is set to deliver up to 80 traineeships across the disability industry.


The signature project sees Group Training Organisations (GTOs) brought on board to work with service providers over the 12-month traineeship period, giving students the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the industry.


Minister for Industry and Skills David Pisoni said South Australia expected to register a workforce gap of about 6000 jobs in the industry by 2020 as a result of the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.


“This pilot program for the disability sector will help close the gap, as a part of Skilling South Australia,” he says.


NDS South Australian State Manager Peter Hoppo says: “Traineeships within the disability sector haven’t been in common use.


“But it’s a time in our history, especially with the introduction of the NDIS, where we actually need more trained people working within the sector.


“The Productivity Commission identified that one in five new positions over the next few years are going to be within the health and community services area, so we’re going to need a larger workforce that is well-trained. The obvious solution was to look at working with GTOs, who are able to employ the trainees; the SA Government was then able to provide a wraparound service and connect the GTOs to disability organisations.”


One of the first people to sign up for the traineeship program was Tony Tolcher, 53, from Elizabeth Downs.


After taking time out from working in aged care to look after his children, he returned to study health services at Time Education and Training in Mile End with the intention of returning to aged care – but quickly switched his focus to disability. “This pilot program is going to help people like me get into this field,” Tolcher says.


He is now placed at scosa’s Modbury Hub. “I love it because it’s different people all the time,” he says.


“And with the NDIS, people with disability are now making decisions for themselves so we’re going to help empower them.”

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