There has never been a better time to seek work in the disability, community and aged care field.
A wide range of sector-specific work websites are available to help you find the right job opportunity, whether you are looking for a total career change, a way of earning extra income, or just finding flexible work that can be fitted around your regular caring duties.
There are numerous platforms that match workers with job vacancies.
Some websites like Care Careers concentrate on jobs in the formal professional sector and are a pathway to jobs with organisations.
Others focus on connecting people who have support requirements with potential support workers, often based on mutual interests, as well as previous experience or qualifications.
Online platforms like Hireup, Better Caring, Home Care Heroes and Care Support Network have been called a revolution in community care. They are platforms that enable people with disability and their carers to find, hire and manage local support workers who fit their needs and share their interests.
For the first time, people can search for and hire local care and support workers based on values and criteria that are important to them.
These kinds of support worker jobs can provide you with a great deal of flexibility as you can choose how many hours you can commit to. Perhaps you only want a few hours on a Sunday and this might also meet the needs of a person who only requires a few hours of support on a weekend, for example. Or you may seek a support worker position that fits in with school hours, or evenings only.
While you might not have the stability and protection of working for an organisation, you may have a more rewarding personal connection with the person for whom you are the main support worker, and enjoy much more flexibility in how support is delivered and what kind of support is provided.
Regardless of whether you would like to work for a larger organisation, or one-one-one with an individual (through a brokered service provider), don’t worry too much if you lack formal training in disability, community or aged care work. For a start, your own life experience counts for a lot and your valuable skills will be recognised as being highly transferrable.
Employers can be very perceptive when it comes to recognising talent so don’t under-rate yourself. Your passion, empathy and ability to work with people, to listen, learn and respond to others while being responsible, flexible and committed to the role are as important as formal qualifications and are sure to get you noticed.
Highlight your key attributes
There are some key attributes to working in this sector that will help you gain a job, so be sure to mention them. Here are some suggestions:
- Having a deep understanding, from combined lived experience and professional development, and a proven ability to use this to positively support others on their journey;
- Having a passion for supporting people with a disability or aged people to achieve their goals;
- Having the ability to actively listen to the people you support and provide opportunities for them to make the most of their abilities;
- Willingness to follow direction and uphold a workplace culture that fosters recognition of achievement and effective teamwork;
- Availability to work a variety of day, afternoon, evening, sleepover and weekend shifts;
- Being a good verbal and written communicator;
- Competent using a computer (being able to use Microsoft Word and Excel is very helpful)
- Hold a current First Aid Certificate (worth getting);
- Hold a current driver’s licence (usually essential).
A good place to start
A good place to start is to complete your profile in ‘People Search’ on the Care Careers website. Visit: www.carecareers.com.au
Another great resource on the site is the ‘Career Quiz’. The quiz gives you feedback on your personality, skills and, if appropriate, it suggests where you could best apply them in a career in the care sector.
Many employers use ‘People Search’ on the Care Careers website to match workers with their current vacancies. Once you have posted your profile on the website, employers can find you and offer you work. Remember, people who talk about their passion and commitment tend to get noticed.
You should also have a nice recent photo of yourself ready to post on the website. Make sure you write a strong, short description of yourself and then flesh it out with lots more details in the ‘full description’ field. Don’t miss the chance to tell them about your talents, passions and ambitions for the future.
Including tags is a great way of ensuring your profile appears in lots of searches. A tag is a short-cut for an employer when he or she is searching. By posting a tag for every one of your attributes, you will ensure you are in contention each time that search is made.
Don’t forget to keep your ‘People Search’ profile updated with any new training or relevant experience. The profile includes a ‘Last updated’ field and having a more recent date can imply a sense of urgency. This will encourage employers to reach out to you before you’re snapped up.
You can hide your profile from being searched at any time and turn it back on again when you are actively looking for work.