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Friday, May 14, 2021
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A new approach to disability support

Finding the right support worker for people living with disability can be a challenge – but a new pilot program aims to break free of traditional recruitment models.

The project recruits support staff for specific roles, rather than general support, with the added benefit of attracting people to work in the sector who might not otherwise have considered it.

Cameron Zellner has benefited from the pilot program as it empowered his family to identify, recruit and train a coach to offer him the support he requires in achieving his rowing goals.

Cameron, who rows at Capital Lakes Rowing Club, started in the para-rowing program in 2014 but it only runs once a week. His mother, Karen Caldwell, said “anyone who wants to take their sport seriously needs to attend more regularly than that to build skills and Cameron is no different”.

“Most rowers are part of training squads that row several times a week; Cameron’s disability means that he cannot learn in that setting. This is where his coach steps in.

“One of Cameron’s main goals is to build his rowing skills to the point that he can row alongside or with other club members and be a valued member of a club crew boat.”

Will Clark is Cameron’s rowing coach and, while he has never worked in disability before, has found the experience rewarding.

“Of all the athletes I’ve ever coached, Cameron is the happiest and enjoys his rowing the most and he is incredibly receptive to more technical coaching as well,” he said. “It’s addictive as well being on the water with someone who gets such a kick out of the experience.”

On Thursday 8 August, National Disability Services (NDS) and members of the ACT Disability Workforce Impact Collective (WIC) will discuss a collective approach to a sustainable disability workforce in Canberra.

The event will bring together the ACT Minister for Disability Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA, the WIC Steering Group, WIC pilot leads, members of the ACT disability workforce, people with disability, carers and other stakeholders, to review the findings of the WIC Project.

The WIC Project has been made possible thanks to a $1.27 million investment from the ACT Government with support from the Commonwealth’s NDIS Sector Development Fund.

Re-evaluating, Reimagining, Resolving – creative solutions for a sustainable disability workforce will be held on 8 August 6-7.30pm at the Common Room, University House ANU. Free to attend. Bookings can be made via Eventbrite or calling the Workforce Impact Collective on 6283 3208.

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