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The Australian Health & Disability Sector: A Lifelong Career Opportunity

17 December 2021   |   by Explore Careers

When many people think about working in the health and disability sector, they immediately think about aged care – but the sector is more vast and vibrant than this one sector.

Health and disability touch on almost every component of our communities. In recent years, more and more organisations are considering how they’ve been supportive and inclusive and how they can develop better opportunities for those living with any form of disability.

As we become a more inclusive society, the career pathways to work in this industry are becoming even more diverse!

What is Disability Support?

The disability support sector aims to help all people with lived experience of disability – in any form – to lead fulfilling lives.

Within the sector, you might:

  • Work directly with individuals living with a disability to help them with a variety of day to day activities.
  • Work with businesses to help them understand how to provide more opportunities and support for employees living with disabilities.
  • Work with advocacy and government groups to develop, advise and petition policies that better support those living with disability.

And more!

The main goal of disability support work is to empower the people you work with to live as independently and as fully as possible.

Different people will need support for various reasons. It is not just based on what they can and cannot do, but what they’re interested in and what they want to achieve – all those working within disability support come together to make this a reality where possible.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the key sectors you could work within in health and disability support!

Supporting Older People

Often called Aged Care Workers, this is a fulfilling role helping to support older adults with a range of support needs.

As an aged care worker, you’ll typically have a caseload of individuals that you help throughout the week. Some may require more in-depth support than others, and it’ll be your role to ensure that their needs are met.

The support you provide might include:

  • Domestic support such as shopping, laundry, cleaning, bill paying or meal preparation.
  • Personal support and care such as help with eating, dressing, showering and hygiene, or taking medications.
  • Active assistance such as help with exercise regimes or attending activities.
  • Lifestyle support, such as helping them with technical skills or digital literacy, helping to write letters, attend appointments or run general errands.
  • Arranging and facilitating social outings, either with friends and family or more general community support groups so they can meet new people.
  • Providing companionship, conversation and emotional support where needed.

Supporting Children

Similar to working with older adults, disability workers who work with children have a core aim of ensuring that they lead fulfilling lives, can participate in activities that aid their emotional, physical and social well-being, and generally feel included in all aspects of life.

These workers might work for:

  • Schools: Providing individual support to children in the classroom, helping them get to and from school, move around the school, and supporting their involvement in school events.
  • Hospitals: In a hospital context, disability workers might help children with transport and moving around. They might also coordinate activities that cater to various disabilities and support parents to help keep their children involved.
  • Community Care: Disability workers may also provide support and relief to families where children have disabilities. They can help out around the home, assist with appointments and transport, and help children attend community activities tailored to their needs.

Supporting Veterans

Another area within disability support that you might not be aware of is supporting adult veterans.

Veterans can be of any age or gender, and the support they need will vary. This may include physical and/or mental support, depending on their individual needs related to their service.

Similar to aged care workers, the support you provide may involve in-home support or assisting individuals to gain access to their community. It might also include:

  • Companion support to conduct preferred hobbies, such as gardening, DIY, car maintenance, or other activities that may require some form of supervision.
  • Travel support to attend relevant events, activities, and groups related to their veteran status – this might require longer trips and stays.
  • Providing respite care, which could include them staying in their own home or an appropriate accommodation to offer family members or other in-house carers a break.

Who Can Work in Health and Disability Care?

Anyone with a passion for helping others, a strong belief in individual autonomy, access and inclusion, and the commitment to take on training can work in the sector!

Just as the individuals you might support will be incredibly diverse, the sector welcomes others from all walks of life to share their lived experiences, diverse knowledge, skills and abilities to help those who need it get access to the right support when they need it most.

It’s a career that will definitely have its ups and downs, challenges and frustrations, but ultimately it offers a lot of rewarding experiences. You’ll meet new people every day and be faced with many opportunities to learn from others and hear stories about life from people you might not otherwise ever engage with.

Careers in this sector are in high demand, have shown no sign of slowing down in recent years, and continue to be expanding – with new qualifications and professional development opportunities being created every year. For the right person, it could be a job for life!

Finding out more about this sector and other ways to get involved is just a click away!

Hit up our Health and Social Care Assistance Industry Profile to learn more.


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