Employment for people with disability: celebrating new jobs and building careers in caring

Posted 2 years ago by Anna Christian
Josh has found meaningful employment at Ridleyton Greek Home for the Aged with help from Barkuma. [Source: Supplied]
Josh has found meaningful employment at Ridleyton Greek Home for the Aged with help from Barkuma. [Source: Supplied]

SPONSORED STORY – Disability service provider, Barkuma, announces new jobs and a program that builds careers in aged care.

Barkuma’s Disability Employment Service (DES) is celebrating the commencement of eleven new jobs in August.

The DES assists people with disability to find a job in open employment.  

DES is federally funded and is not an NDIS support; it is free for all people with disability to access.  

The program provides work experience, skills assessment and further support to find and maintain employment.

Danielle Broadway, Operations Manager of Open Employment at Barkuma, says that the new roles are across a range of employers including Artisan Joinery, Coles, KFC, DXC, Ridleyton Greek Home for the Aged, Archery Supplies, Willunga Fine Foods, Woodward Foods and Big W, as well as a self-employed position.

“We are thrilled to be on track for a record number of job starts in September,” adds Danielle.

In another recent development, Barkuma is now building careers in aged care for people living with disability.

Danielle explains that a group traineeship project has been created by Barkuma partnering with JFA Purple Orange, five aged care providers and EQUALS International (a Registered Training Organisation).

The five aged care providers are ECH, Eldercare, Kalyra Communities, Amber Aged Care and St Anna’s Residential Care Facility.

“As part of the ‘Road to Employment Project’, we are expanding upon the traineeship model, ‘Valuing Differences in Residential Aged Care,’ adopted from the original pilot program with Ridleyton Greek Home for the Aged,” Danielle says.

“Project partner EQUALS works closely with the group to ensure training content and delivery is accessible for all trainees.  

“Here at Barkuma, we will be supporting six participants across four of the aged care providers.”

From October this year, each of the partnered aged care providers will employ people with disability under a traineeship, and they will complete a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing). 

Project partners are co-designing elements of the traineeship program to include recruitment, supervision and support. 

For Danielle, the project will demonstrate that employing people with disability through a traineeship is a viable recruitment strategy for the aged care sector.

“We recognise the benefits in terms of diversity and organisational culture, as well as offering people with disability the opportunity for a rewarding career,” she says.

Wendy McCabe, Clinical Nurse Manager at St Anna’s Residential Care Facility, sees that colleagues with disability have a genuine desire to work and to be part of a team.  

“We employ lots of people that just want a paycheck, whereas the carers we employ living with a disability love the environment, they want to be there,” she says. 

Amanda Birkin, Chief Executive Officer of St Anna’s Residential Care Facility, is equally enthused. 

“That commitment and dedication is incredible. They really fly the flag for the organisation, which is a really important thing,” Amanda says.

For Wendy, the experience of working alongside people with disability has brought about a change in her own attitude.

“They are more in the moment with the client, they are so passionate, and thrive in the trainee role,” Wendy says.

“It’s a powerful thing to watch. I wouldn’t have thought this a few years ago!” 

By bringing their lived experiences and natural qualities and skills to supporting clients, many people with disability are a good fit for working in the aged care sector.  

“The trainees and carers living with disability that I have worked with know how to make people feel comfortable, they can empathise, they know how to find ways around doing things, because they are living that life themselves,”  Wendy says.

Barkuma’s DES is skilled at identifying its participants’ strengths and suitability for different roles.  

Once in a placement, the participant will receive ongoing support from DES.

Amanda says Barkuma key workers regularly attend the workplace to support the new trainee. 

“It means staff and supervisors are not constantly being interrupted or needing to demonstrate how things are done; the DES support person would do this.”

To learn more about how the Disability Employment Service can assist you, visit the Barkuma website or call 08 8414 7100.

Organisation Bio:

Barkuma is a South Australian not-for-profit organisation that provides a range of supports for people with disability. For over 50 years, Barkuma has provided an environment of self-determination that opens up a lifetime of limitless learning and opportunity. Together with clients, Barkuma establishes the capacity and confidence to transition out of high school and continue to build a life of independence that makes quality employment and accommodation outcomes achievable.