People from across the Bundaberg Region stood in solidarity yesterday to observe International Day of People with Disability.
The occasion was marked in Bundaberg CBD by an information day hosted by Epic Assist and supported by IWC, Local Area Coordination Partners for the NDIS in the Bundaberg region.
Members of the public stopped to learn more about changes to the way disability services were being provided since the rollout of the NDIS in 2017.
Students studying their Cert 3 in Disability (Individual Supports) at Impact attended to grab a snap for social media, each from a different background with a different draw to the emerging sector of disability services.
Elise Cottam, Trainer Assessor in Cert 3 Disability (Individual Supports) at IMPACT, said she was confident in her students’ prospects upon graduation.
“There is a big demand for support workers,” she said.
“The industry is screaming for support workers, especially men, as there are not a lot of them doing it. I have seven guys in this course, and they’ll all be employed by the end.”
International Day of People with Disability
With more than 1800 NDIS participants in the Bundaberg region alone, the demand for good support workers is indeed drawing people of all backgrounds and abilities.
Andrew Lloyd, whose background is in civil constructions, has a list of qualifications as long as his career tradesman.
Naturally, moving into the decidedly more empathy-focused space of disability support has been a major shift.
“I’ve just turned 50 and my back and knees are starting to play up a bit – so, rather than using my construction experience in construction, I’m wanting to use my life experience to help someone else out,” he said.
Andrew said he hoped to help people with psychosocial disabilities, particularly ex-servicemen affected by PTSD, once he graduated.
Kalana Wetherall, who graduated from the same course in November, said she had already found work quickly.
“It’s very fulfilling,” she said.
Over at the Bundaberg Neighbourhood Centre, the usual playgroup was held with a special visit from Melissa James, Early Intervention Facilitator from Bushkids.
She spoke to the parents about the benefits of early intervention for children who may be affected by disability.
IWC Local Area Coordinator and Community Development Manager Ryan Marsh said he was happy to see organisations marking the day with a special effort.
“We’ve seen some great initiatives in the community over the last few years, and improved acceptance of people with disability as they become more visible and active in Bundaberg,” he said.
“Tomorrow we are looking to get a few people and their carers out to learn about using public transport at Try Before u Ride, and obviously through 2020 we’re planning even more events.”
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