“NDIS is promoting a dangerous gig economy mentality”


Posted on

April 20, 2018

Dr. Jim Stanford (economist and director of the Centre for Future Work), says there is a “staff crisis” in NDIS services.

He says that NDIS providers are having significant problems with attracting and retaining skilled workers.

This instability is resulting in massive staff turnover expenses.

Stanford says that the biggest issue being the promotion of a dangerous “gig economy” mentality.

This is where workers are hired mainly on a casual basis (an hour here, and an hour there), which leads to a range of issues.

For example, this “gig” mentality causes workers to avoid investing in additional training / qualifications because of the unstable nature of the job itself.

In turn, it also means that the people with disabilities (under the NDIS) don’t get the level of quality care that they need.

“Because if you don’t have any confidence that you’re going to have regular hours of work or any confidence you can work your way up the classifications into a decent career, you won’t undertake the investments in your own training that are required for you to do the best job as a disability support worker,”

“Likewise, the fact that disability support is seen as an unskilled job, quite wrongly – the skills involved are actually very demanding but it’s seen as an unskilled job that anyone can do – contributes to providers trying to hire people on a short-term, unstable basis rather than developing a permanent high-skilled workforce.”

– Dr. Jim Stanford

The Solution

Stanford proposes in his report (co-authored with Dr. Rose Ryan), that the NDIS should provide a portable training entitlement system for disability support workers.

This system would give workers credit for 1 hour of paid training, for every 50 hours they work for an NDIS-funded provider.

These support workers can use these training credits to up-skill themselves, build up their career and ultimately provide better services for NDIS participants.

Moreover, this solution would lower staff turnover rates for NDIS providers, since the workers themselves are incentivized to stay and progress their careers.

“There’s a huge opportunity with the rollout of the NDIS, for the creation of thousands and thousands of new jobs in this field.

In fact the expectation is the workforce needs to double, adding 70,000 full-time equivalent jobs just to meet the new demand under the NDIS,”

“But those workers can’t come out of thin air. We need the industry to be providing urgent attention to recruitment retention and training of a new workforce.

“And only with a comprehensive well-funded training program will that be possible.”

– Dr. Jim Stanford

With Stanford’s proposal, less than 1 cent per dollar of NDIS funding will be allocated to the training system for support workers. Stanford says that this training should be viewed as an investment, not an expense.

“By emphasising that a commitment to quality benefits all participants in the sector… a consensus can be built that investing a very small proportion of total costs… in ongoing training will help to achieve the full potential that the NDIS’s architects hoped for.”

– Dr. Jim Stanford


Read the full article here.

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