COMMUNITY ASSET: The new $4.6 million Elliot Lane independent living facility requires about 20 disability support workers to open, sparking calls for local to consider a disability support course through TAFE NSW.
A leading Bega disability support provider has identified TAFE NSW as the training “spark” to help fill a critical skills gap in its brand new, multi-million dollar independent living facility.
The $4.6 million Elliot Lane Apartments in Bega, funded by a grant from the NSW Government and other local donations, has been unable to welcome clients into the home since October as disability provider Tulgeen desperately tries to fill more than 20 disability support positions.
It comes as NDIS chief executive David Moody said about 430,000 Australians were being supported under the National Disability Insurance Scheme, with an estimated national shortage of about 120,000 disability support workers.
Tulgeen CEO Duane Kelly said while residents were ready to move into the new facility, a shortage of disability support workers was stymying their efforts, and saying TAFE NSW Bega was “ideally positioned” to provide the much-needed workforce.
“We need skilled, qualified people and Tulgeen naturally sees TAFE NSW as instrumental in training locals and getting them to extend themselves and step up,” he said.
“These individuals require a high level of support and everyone, including their families, is anticipating this specialised disability accommodation will provide that level of support.
“A small community like ours urgently needs these skills and all it takes is a spark from a great training institution like TAFE NSW.”
Enrolments are currently open for the Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) at TAFE NSW Bega and community services teacher Steve Reed said it provided a golden opportunity for locals to change careers and gain meaningful person-centred employment.
“This is the benchmark qualification to be employed as a disability support worker and there’s a great opportunity here at Tulgeen and at other agencies,” Mr Reed said.
“The whole industry locally is struggling to recruit enough staff and so employment prospects for our graduates are extremely strong.
“The TAFE NSW Certificate III makes you very competitive in the jobs market and it’s wonderful to see our students’ confidence grow as they provide support to people with a range of disabilities.”
Mr Reed said TAFE NSW disability students undertook work placement during the course, arming them with the hands-on, practical skills to make a running start into their careers.
For more information, visit www.tafensw.edu.au or call 13 16 01.
Media contact: Dan Johns, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, mobile 0477 722 428