Disability work for the taking

Disability support worker Dakorim Wokoma says the role requires empathy, passion and a listening ear.

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

A “massive” job shortage is emerging in disability support work during the Covid pandemic.

Dakorim Wokoma, of Noble Park, is one who is filling the need. It’s a role she does for the love of it.

“I wanted to do a job with a purpose.

“One thing that’s clear is if you’re doing it for the money, you’re not in the right industry.”

However, finding applicants has become a challenge for service providers.

In a bid to attract staff, service provider OnCall Australia has launched a free training course with a “guaranteed” job.

The sector’s reliance on overseas workers has left a “massive shortage” during Covid, OnCall chief executive Laura Green.

As migrant workers were unable to arrive in Australia, OnCall needed a “rapid injection” of new staff.

Previously, applicants would have to pay for their own training. Now On Call provides it free of charge.

“We recognised that most people have had a hard year so paying to get a job doesn’t make sense.”

“If the people enrolled pass the training, they’ll have a job.”

Training includes first aid, manual handling and disability support skills to a Certificate III or IV level. It’s followed by shadow-shifts with an experienced worker and mentoring on-the-job.

“The disability sector has lots of work to be done. Many industries are getting smaller but we’re getting bigger.”

Ms Wokoma, a qualified electrical engineer, became a support worker so she could better understand how to care for her late disabled sister Ibifulo.

The pair moved out from Nigeria in search of better disabled care and facilities.

Ms Wokoma is studying a Masters in Cybersecurity but says she wants to keep working in disability support.

“It’s challenging because each individual is different.

“You have to have that level of empathy. You have to have a listening ear. And you have to bring out that love in you to support that client.

“That person is putting their life in your hands.”

Details: www.oncall.com.au/