Smooth Sailing

Written by Peter Hannon

We’d like to introduce Max Burke, one of our other Talent Advisors, as guest writer for this blog. In this post he writes about the challenges of changing careers and how a career quiz can help to make things a little clearer.


The sea of jargon and information facing new applicants entering the disability and community care sector is undoubtedly daunting. Cast out in a small raft amongst lists of pros and cons, warnings and advice from family and friends, it can be a very intimidating time. I like to think of carecareers as the lighthouse atop the cliff, guiding people safely into the calm waters of a new career.

However, carecareers does more than just guide you to shore when the waves get a bit rough. The journey isn’t the same for everyone and carecareers won’t leave you without a few paddles to help you find your way safely to shore. The team has spent the last 2 years preparing its ‘paddles’ of fact sheets, resumé tips, training guides, case studies, and of course the sometimes overlooked but extremely useful career quiz.

The career quiz, whilst light-hearted in its approach, is an excellent launch point for your new endeavour for two key reasons. Firstly, it forces you to reflect on who you are as you select choices from the pictures provided. Then, the progression leads you to question who you could become in the future. Having done the quiz a few times now, I always find it encourages self reflection about where I am going and what it is that I want to achieve.

The second reason the quiz is important is that it highlights the collective journey all candidates take. Regardless of your background, each individual is called to refocus and reinvigorate their career (and arguably their lives). Asking the appropriate questions of you, the quiz embodies the notion that we aren’t alone in our pursuit of change and that there are others out there, in the same sea, looking for the same thing.

Realistically, an online careers test will never take the place of sound careers advice offered by carecareers, educational institutions and organisations within the industry. We prefer to think of it as a nudge in the right direction, and ultimately just another paddle that the carecareers team can give you. This paddle isn’t made of wood, though; it’s one of those really flash carbon-fibre ones!

Take our fun career quiz now.

Smooth sailing,

Talent Advisor and  Lighthouse Keeper


A role for everyone

Written by Patrick Lloyd

Pass the word around – there is a role for anyone who wants one in the disability and community care sector.

Just last week carecareers was sent a role from one of our organisations looking for a website manager:

“This role exists to implement creative solutions to address the strategic web and digital communication plans of the organisation, benefiting a range of internal and external stakeholders and audiences.”

A website manager in the disability sector?  How remote is this position from the frontline support ‘florence nightingales’ that the sector is predominately associated with.

Many organisations have grown from their early days, where a couple of volunteers banded together with the common purpose of supporting a particular group in need. They are often now larger organisations that require a board of directors, a chief executive officer, a chief financial officer (CFO), a group of specialised management professionals, a human resources team, an administration team and an information technology team.

And don’t forget the sales, marketing, fundraising, public relations and digital communications professionals that work to promote an organisation and to appeal for donations and funding. All of these roles require skills and qualifications that bear no resemblance to a Certificate III in Disability and they are necessary to provide the back up and support to the coal face of frontline support workers and frontline professionals.

Delve even further into the teams mentioned above and they reveal some interesting roles:

The IT job family is vast.  It stretches from basic user support on our computer software to advanced specialist knowledge around networks and specific products. Help desk support, network manager and infrastructure manager are just a few of the many job titles.

The CFO oversees the financial controller, the accountant and bookkeeper who all have a huge responsibility in managing funds within an organisation, made even more important with the focus on accurate financial management within the disability and community care sector.

The administration team may need an office manager, a personal assistants and or an administration officer to oversee the day to day and varied duties, which can include database use, service coordination, appointment scheduling, phone calls, reception duties and managing office supplies.

The human resources team is headed up by the human resources director who will likely be part of the senior leadership team and will contribute to the setting and implementation of organisational strategy. The director will also oversee those responsible for managing and implementing the policies, processes and strategy in relation to human resources and staffing.

These office based roles are just  a few of the roles that are available in the sector. If we look at other areas such as in-home support we find a number of roles that will surprise many outside the sector.

The catering assistant that helps with the preparation of food for a client will probably be cooking up a storm based on the guidance of a dietician. The gardener/grounds maintenance person will also look after or help a client to look after their garden, and the licenced tradesperson looks after everything from changing  light bulbs to installing ramps, handrails, bathroom and kitchen modifications, and any other needs identified by the occupational therapists; all of which help the client to continue to stay at home.

While at home the client may have visits from a physiotherapist or a podiatrist or they may use the services of a community driver to get them out and about to their various appointments, or to visit their employment development officer or open employment consultant who will help support them in entering the workforce.

The variety of roles available in the sector is huge and I haven’t even mentioned the psychologists, social workers, counsellors, speech pathologists and finally the assistants in nursing and the registered nurses.

I am sure that I have missed some roles but when you are next having a conversation with a mate, who says that they would love to enter the sector but don’t think frontline support is for them, point them in the direction of the larger not-for-profits who will surely have something that suits them.

Who knows – while working in another role, they may get exposed to the benefits and rewards experienced by frontline support staff and they may then decide it is for them after all.


Standing out from the crowd

Written by Patrick Lloyd

With the predicted need for more personnel in the disability and community care sector over the next few years, competing for the workforce is now gaining a renewed momentum and becoming a greater focus for employers and hiring managers.

A job advertisement is often the first point of contact between your organisation and candidates and one of the most important things you can do is use your job adverts to differentiate your organisation and vacant roles.

A quick scan of some job ads reveals a list of standard items or highlights that are usually bullet pointed with little or no explanation, indicating that most organisations are not doing a lot to differentiate themselves. While there is a need to keep job adverts short these items shouldn’t be left to the interview for explanation.

Some examples of these job ad highlights include:

  • Award or above award salary: What does this mean to school leavers or career changers and where do they find information about it?
  • Salary packaging: It sounds good but it could sound even better if it was explained that the industry provides salary packaging incentives above and beyond normal packaging options.
  • Certificate III required or the willingness to obtain it: Most new entrants to the sector will be excited at the prospect of obtaining a qualification, but there’s no often no explanation as to how they would go about it and be employed at the same time. This leaves candidates with plenty of questions, such as: Will I get time off work to attend Tafe? Will my new employer help with course costs? Are there minimum education requirements to attend these courses? A simple explanation in a job ad could cover these questions.

One way of further distinguishing an organisation in a job advert is by detailing the additional employment benefits. Some organisations in the sector do this but most don’t. Examples include:

  • Work/life balance
  • Career progression and a variety of career opportunities
  • Personal development opportunities
  • Staff participation in the organisation’s direction and vision
  • Recognition of Prior Learning
  • Role specific training
  • Financial bonuses
  • Discounted gym memberships

While this is not an exhaustive list, it is a good example of how some organisations are being noticed by candidates. What does your organisation do to stand out from the crowd? We’d love to hear from you.