With JobKeeper supplements coming to a halt, it only adds to the ongoing setbacks many middle-aged women already face.
The labour market has been turned upside down by COVID with many industries decimated. It’s become a difficult hunting ground for older women in particular as they seek to re-enter the workforce.
And with women more likely than men to have their careers interrupted and older women to have significantly lower superannuation nesteggs, there is hope that the disability sector might be able to provide a win-win for older women.
The disability sector estimates 90,000 new jobs are required over the next four years and that it’s one of the fastest growing industry sectors with rewarding and flexible employment on offer.
Women who may be wanting to top up their income but are concerned about gaps in their resume, are being urged to consider work in the disability sector.
Laura Green, General Manager of operations at ONCALL Group Australia says that there is an abundance of work in the disability sector that is an opportunity for people with life experience to shine.
“We’re concerned the government isn’t addressing the urgent need for a new workforce to improve the lives of people with disability. There is meaningful, skilled work that is waiting for people to get into. The NDIS is a job creating Scheme, and there are not enough people for the jobs we have right now.” said Ms Green.
“We have hundreds of jobs available right now. We are ready to train people quickly in the right skills, and keep supporting their development on the job. This is a great opportunity for people with other experience, especially for groups like older women, who may be struggling to find the job that fits their life.”
“ONCALL’s JobReady program trains people with no prior disability experience and equips them with the initial skills to get started.”
NDIS packages come with a ‘use it or lose it’ ultimatum and with a shortage of workers to deliver the essential support, people with disability are missing out.
Able Australia, a disability service provider, says they’ve had to create an internal response group internal allied health arm to pull together the resources needed to meet the demand for services.
“Things like support for independent living, where there is rapidly increasing demand, are among the services that participants are missing out on. Waiting periods are dangerously long as there just aren’t enough workers.” said Lynette McKeown, chief operating officer at Able Australia.
“There is an obvious workforce supply shortage and a skills shortage and it is becoming more and more concerning. There are real life consequences, which is why we’ve come up with our own solution.” said Ms McKeown.
“Some participants have very complex needs that require a team of professionals to deliver this level of support, and finding them can be a challenge.” Ms Green added.
Like many service providers in the disability sector, ONCALL is calling out for people entering or re-entering the workforce to consider a path in this sector and asking the government to back this.
“These jobs will help the community, help unemployment, underemployment as well as providing incredibly valuable and fulfilling work for people, like older Australian women, that may be struggling.”