Case study: Making traineeships work in the NDIS

From volunteering to traineeships: not-for-profit centre offers greater choice for participants by upskilling volunteers

Bathurst Seymour Centre (Bathurst Seymour) is a small community-based, not-for-profit organisation in Bathurst NSW. It is an approved National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and aged care provider. The centre provides a range of support programs for frail aged people, people with a disability and their carers.

The need
With participant numbers increasing, Bathurst Seymour needed to boost its workforce so team members could continue to offer personalised support to every participant.

To build its workforce in both numbers and capacity, the team identified an opportunity to train two young people who had been engaged in volunteer activities at Bathurst Seymour. The job seekers had engaged well with the team and the participants during their volunteering; they just needed more skills and knowledge.

The initiative: a collaborative traineeship process
Bathurst Seymour worked with Apprenticeship Network Provider MEGT to sign up the two job seekers as trainees. MEGT simplified the process and provided timely support. It advised Bathurst Seymour on government incentives and provided ongoing mentoring and support for the trainees.

The local technical and further education institution TAFE NSW Bathurst was selected to deliver the training. The training took place at Bathurst Seymour at convenient times on rostered work days. It included scenarios tailored to Bathurst Seymour, making it more relevant and meaningful.

Both trainees enrolled in a Certificate III in Individual Support. One trainee completed her course and traineeship and was named as the Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) NSW Trainee of the Year 2018. The other completed her training and is looking forward to obtaining her traineeship completion certificate.

Bathurst Seymour adjusted its organisational structure so that an existing team member could mentor and supervise the trainees.

The benefits
The traineeships provided the following benefits:
• They helped Bathurst Seymour meet its objective of increasing the number of skilled staff providing personalised support.
• The trainees developed useful new resources that could be used by staff and contributed new ideas as a result of their training. This included input into policies and procedures, programs and development, and activity resources.
• Participants were given greater choice in terms of the staff who could support them and the activities that could be provided.
• The trainees gained relevant knowledge and skills. Together with the practical experience, this gave them the confidence they needed to deliver person-centred services.

Lessons learned in Bathurst
Bathurst Seymour’s Chief Executive Officer, Terisa Ashworth, said the experience had taught her and her team a great deal about the process and benefits of traineeships.

“Providing people with volunteer opportunities before taking them on as trainees gave the job seekers and us a chance to see if we were the right fit for each other,” she said.

“We and the trainees also benefited from using the buddy system to match trainees with employees who can help guide, supervise and support them.”

Terisa added: “Having the training delivered on-site was also a bonus. The training was made relevant to our organisation and was convenient for the trainees to take part.”

Another benefit was the ability to access financial incentives from the Australian Government.

“This made a significant difference and we would advise other service providers to talk to their local jobactive and Apprenticeship Network Providers about what funding is available,” Terisa said.

Support resources
Contact an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider who can provide you with targeted advice and support at all points of the apprenticeship cycle, from pre-commencement to completion, or call 13 38 73.

If your business cannot offer the hours required for the traineeship, a group training organisation can provide you with greater flexibility by employing the trainee and finding other host companies to make up the additional hours required.
Contact a jobactive provider who will work with you to recruit a trainee for your business, or call 13 17 15.

Contact a Disability Employment Service (DES) provider who can support you to recruit a trainee with lived experience of disability into your business, or call 1800 464 800.

Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website for information on awards, wages and conditions.

Image used with permission from Bathurst Seymour Centre.