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Working in the Disability Support Sector

Working in disability support services is a rewarding career that helps people with disabilities and their families achieve goals to maximise their independence.

Careerforce offers a range of pathways for disability support workers to upskill and ensure their practices are aligned with the vision and principles of Enabling Good Lives. Whether you are new to the sector or want to explore on-the-job training, Careerforce can help find a disability support qualification right for you.

Explore our Qualifications for the Disability Support Sector

We offer a range of qualifications for support workers in a disability setting or working with disability support service users. These qualifications range from entry level through to advanced specialist qualifications.

 

Support your Disability Services Workforce with On-the-Job Training

Careerforce can support you to enhance your workforce’s skills and knowledge through our well resourced, on-the-job training programmes.

A Careerforce Workplace Advisor will work with you to determine which qualifications are right for your workforce. Together, we’ll develop a comprehensive training plan and discuss steps to set up your training. We will also guide you through funding opportunities to support the growth of your employees, such as Te Pou Training Grants.

 

We work with clients who have
complex needs, so we must
make sure that we are passing
on to our support workers
the tools that are right for the
role they are completing.

Sally Brown | Healthvision Assessor and Brain Injury Rehabilitation Apprentice

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the questions below to reveal the answers.  Please contact us via info@careerforce.org.nz if you have a question not covered below.

A disability support worker provides assistance and care for people with an intellectual and/or physical disability living in a community-based home, respite centre or at home.  You’ll help clients to live as independently as possible and help them to participate in the community.

The rewards are huge, although the work can be difficult.  You need to remain flexible and adaptable as the needs of people vary.   You might be employed in a professional care environment or travel to client’s home to help them with daily tasks.   The role can include working shifts and may involve working during evenings and weekends.

Entry level roles in disability support don’t usually require any qualifications, but it is likely you will be expected to train on-the-job for the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing Levels 2 and 3.

Examples of roles: Support Care Worker, Home Aide, Hospital Orderly, Home Care Support Worker, Health Care Assistant, Health Assistant.

Examples of qualifications:

New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 2)
New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 3) Health Assistance
New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 3) Orderly Services
New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 3) Support Work

More advanced roles in disability support work will benefit from a Level 4 qualification and higher.

Examples of roles: Senior Support Worker, Team Leader, Supervisor, Trainer/Assessor, Rehabilitation Assistant, Rehabilitation Support Staff, Hearing Therapist, Vision Therapist, Rehabilitation Instructor.

Examples of qualifications:

New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 4) Advanced Support
Apprenticeship in Health and Wellbeing (Level 4) Social and Community Services, Community Facilitation Strand
Apprenticeship in Health and Wellbeing (Level 4) Rehabilitation Assistance, Brain Injury rehabilitation Support Strand
Apprenticeship in Health and Wellbeing (Level 4) Peer Support
New Zealand Diploma in Health and Wellbeing (Level 5) Applied Practice
New Zealand Diploma in Hearing Therapy (Level 6)
New Zealand Diploma in Vision Habilitation/Rehabilitation (Level 7)

Disability Support Workers need to:

  • be practical, organised and responsible.
  • be reasonably fit, healthy and strong, as the work can be physically demanding.
  • be supportive, understanding and caring nature.
  • have good communication skills.
  • relate well to people from a range of cultures.
  • have the ability to work as part of a team but be able to work independently.

The expected duration for Disability Support Work qualifications range from 7 months to 30 months.

Since practical experience is extremely important in this industry, on-the-job training is completed alongside work in a disability support work environment.

Examples of qualifications and duration:

New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 2) – 7 months
New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 3) Health Assistance  – 12 months
New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 3) Orderly Services – 9 months
New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 3) Support Work  – 12 months
New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 4) Advanced Support  – 12 months
Apprenticeship in Health and Wellbeing (Level 4) Social and Community Services, Community Facilitation Strand – 18 months
Apprenticeship in Health and Wellbeing (Level 4) Rehabilitation Assistance, Brain Injury rehabilitation Support Strand – 18 months
Apprenticeship in Health and Wellbeing (Level 4) Peer Support – 18 months
New Zealand Diploma in Health and Wellbeing (Level 5) Applied Practice – 18 – 24 months
New Zealand Diploma in Hearing Therapy (Level 6) – 18 – 24 months
New Zealand Diploma in Vision Habilitation/Rehabilitation (Level 7) – 30 months

Enrolment fees for disability support work qualifications range from $200 NZD to $2,000 NZD.

Examples of qualifications and enrolment costs:

New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 2) – $200 NZD
New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 3) Health Assistance  – $230 NZD
New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 3) Orderly Services – $230 NZD
New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 3) Support Work  – $230 NZD
New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 4) Advanced Support  – $390 NZD
Apprenticeship in Health and Wellbeing (Level 4) Social and Community Services, Community Facilitation Strand – $2,000 NZD
Apprenticeship in Health and Wellbeing (Level 4) Rehabilitation Assistance, Brain Injury rehabilitation Support Strand – $2,000 NZD
Apprenticeship in Health and Wellbeing (Level 4) Peer Support – $2,000 NZD
New Zealand Diploma in Health and Wellbeing (Level 5) Applied Practice – $2,000 NZD
New Zealand Diploma in Hearing Therapy (Level 6) – $POA
New Zealand Diploma in Vision Habilitation/Rehabilitation (Level 7) – $POA

The employer typically pays the fees for staff to enrol in these programmes. To enrol in a Careerforce programme, you must be currently employed, and have the support of your employer.

As part of Budget 2020, the New Zealand Government, announced its Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund (TTAF). This fund is designed to encourage and support New Zealanders to undertake vocational education and training in targeted areas. The fund removes costs for a wide range of level 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 programmes for learners, apprentices and employers, through to December 2022.

Working in disability support services is a rewarding career that helps people with disabilities and their families achieve goals to maximise their independence.

Disability Support workers can make a real difference in people’s lives. The rewards are huge, although the work can be difficult. You need to be flexible and adaptable as the needs of people vary. The role can include working shifts and may involve working during evenings and weekends.

An historic pay equity settlement for care and support workers in New Zealand in 2017 means that Care workers are now recognised and rewarded based on their qualifications.

There are entry-level career opportunities in disability support work.  There are lifelong, rewarding careers in this sector and employers who will support your training and help you to get qualified on the job.

Check out new Zealand job sites such as Jobs for Good, SeekTradeMe Jobs or Kiwi Health Jobs for entry level job opportunities.  Many employers will support on-the-job training where you’ll have the opportunity to earn as you learn, get practical skills and work towards achieving a nationally recognised qualification without taking on a student loan.

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in Disability Support