The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is transforming the lives of people with disability and their families across the country. As the largest social policy reform Australia’s seen since Medicare, it’s big, it’s complex and, perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s taking some adjusting to. But the ideal driving it – that people with disability should have total choice and control over their own lives – is a gamechanger for almost half a million people across Australia.
In this Hireup Session, hosted by Hireup’s Head of Community Engagement, Sarah Peddie-McGuirk, our panellists explored how Hireup fits into the context of the NDIS, its core principles and how users can think outside the box when it comes to receiving and providing support.
- Sophie Geeves, Hireup user and onboarding support team member at Hireup HQ
- Laura O’Reilly, CEO of not-for-profit provider Fighting Chance and co-founder of Hireup
- Clare Conroy, Hireup Account Manager and co-founder Loop+
- Trent Thomas, Hireup support worker
New power, new responsibility
Laura O’Reilly has been on a “transition to NDIS” journey with many of the 400 families supported by Fighting Chance. In our panel, Laura describes the evolution she’s seen them go on – transitioning from a more passive system, to one where they are suddenly in the driver’s seat, have to work things out for themselves and absorb a lot of new information… fast!
But over and over again Laura sees the lightbulb go off when people receive their funding and suddenly realise what having real choice and control means:
The pain at the start of having to do the research, and the digging and engaging with new networks and finding your way. The pay-off to that is freedom.
One parent who’s been around the NDIS plan block a few times now is panellist Clare Conroy, as the Hireup Account Manager for her son and Hireup user, Evander.
Clare’s biggest tip for parents out there who are feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the options now available to them and a little unsure about where to start:
Tap into networks of families and parents who have been through the NDIS process before.
“I had my first plan, I had never had access to funding for supports before. I was going down one track and I wasn’t really happy with the way that was looking for us – so I spoke to another mum [at Evander’s sport] and she said ‘Why don’t you get onto Hireup?’” Clare got straight on, connected with a support worker and tells us she thought, “Why didn’t anyone tell me about this 6 months ago?!”
Clare’s networking go-to’s:
- Mums Networks (or Parents Networks) on social media: Facebook groups to connect to other parents who have been through it all and navigated the process before
- Disability Sport Groups: Chatting to parents on the sidelines of Evander’s sport activities
So how does Hireup fit into the NDIS?
As Laura says, Hireup was born into the NDIS – with a vision to transform the way people found and managed their support teams, harnessing technology to bring the scheme’s choice and control ideals to life.
For panellist Sophie Geeves, signing up to the NDIS meant accessing funding for regular one-on-one supports for the very first time, helping her work towards a number of independent living goals.
“For personal care, and going out into the community, I relied heavily on my parents and extended family to assist me with everyday activities… and then all of a sudden I got my plan and I received all this funding for one-to-one support and it’s been really life changing for me.”
Sophie tells her fellow panellists that she chose Hireup as her main support provider because it “enables me to choose who walks through my front door, we get to connect on common interests and I can have different support workers for different aspects of support.” (thanks Sophie!).
Her top tips for finding support workers on Hireup?
- A catchy job title that grabs people’s attention: “If you’re looking for someone to come to soccer training with you, your title could be a ‘soccer coach’ or ‘soccer buddy’. Something that really grabs people’s attention and really separates your job away from the rest of the job posters.”
- Target your audience and be really specific in the description: “I also find being specific about the person that I’m looking for. I often say, “I’m looking for a young, female who may be at Uni… Or I’m looking for a fun and energetic person who’s able to drive.”
But it’s not just people seeking support who are benefitting from this new era of flexibility and choice – support workers are too.
One trend Hireup Sessions 4 host, Sarah, is noticing when she’s chatting to people in the community is that the NDIS and Hireup are really giving people the freedom to rethink what support is, and expand their view of what support work roles can be.
Trent, who’s been a disability support worker for 10 years and you may recognise from this story of finding common ground, notes he now has more opportunities to offer support to people that he thinks he’d be well suited to.
“It allows me to utilise my strengths as a support worker, in the right dynamic for support work that’s needed. I find it very empowering seeing the people I’ve supported in a very person-centred dynamic, which allows them to have their supports tailored to them.”
His current role? Lifestyle Coordinator for Adam’s Apple Creations founder, Adam, which he describes as being at the helm of the ship of Adam’s team of supports.
Great support a two-way street
Another concept our panellists explored was the magic of a support relationship where everyone is truly engaged in the personal progression of the person seeking support. Sarah notes great support workers are able to add value beyond carrying out the tasks they were originally hired for by thinking creatively and contributing new ideas about other support activities they’ve come across, or new supports they might have heard of.
Trent gives us a practical picture of what this looks like for him and Adam:
“Over the past two years of working with Adam, I’ve been able to pick up… where his interest levels are. Seeing when he’s not really getting the most out of each day in certain activities and being able to brainstorm and think of what other avenues would he like to do, and then redirect those days into more positive areas that he would really enjoy.”
Sarah agrees, “If your worker can come up and say, ‘Hey I’ve actually done a bit of research and I know you can use the experience, and it’s actually a really fantastic program that’s being run at this centre, at this time, I think we should go along,’ I think that families really welcome that type of input from support workers.”
For Clare, finding that magical support match is not only a positive for Evander’s progression towards his goals, it can also allow his funding to go the extra mile.
She has become particularly adept at looking for multiple skill sets in the one worker. For a real life example of how she does this check out the Sessions 4 video at 28 minutes 44 seconds!
This is a big conversation, and one we’d love to keep having – tell us what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.