Monday, June 20th, 2011
People thinking of a career change should consider employment in the disability and community care sector, with up to 10,000 jobs anticipated to be up-for-grabs between now and 2015 in the south Sydney region.

The sector is set to boom in the next five years as employers look to recruit 40,000 people because the number of people who may require these services in New South Wales is expected to rise to 350,000.

Beau Thornton began work in the disability and community care sector when he was 19, and says he could not have imagined the career opportunities that have come his way in the last few years.

"I started out in the sector by accident when a friend raised the idea and I was quite apprehensive, but what I loved about it straight away was the people" says Thornton.

Today he is in a trail-blazing role as an Accommodation Manger, running the Community Justice Program (CJP) for Sylvanvale, based in Kirrawee. The CJP is aimed at preventing people with disability who have broken the law from reoffending, and also assists people with disability who are homeless or living on streets.

"CJP intervenes by helping them access activities, employment and housing; the program opens up their options. Each day is different, busy, and always challenging," says Thornton.

"When I first started out I was working in crisis accommodation, helping people who had come from boarding houses and were adjusting to group homes. I loved getting them back in to the community and helping them experience life including sport, barbeques, holidays, doctor's appointments".

"I then went to London and worked as a live-in paid care worker, before returning to Sydney and taking up my current role.

"A couple of years ago I could never have imagined that I'd be in charge of two group houses. The challenge gives me a purpose to keep going and I find it exciting."

For those considering a career change Thornton says, "If you have the instinct to want to help people and you care for them, then you should consider it."

"There's so much training available from TAFE and university, but the main attributes you need are an ability to be caring, considerate, willing and have lots of energy."

"It really is a rewarding job and that's what keeps me going, even when it gets stressful."

To help meet the demand for new workers in the disability and community care sector, a NSW government-funded initiative named carecareers exists to connect prospective employees with opportunities in the sector.

Run by National Disability Services NSW, the carecareers employment website offers a careers advisory service and a help-line for job seekers on 1300 637 637.

"There are several misconceptions about what it is like to be a disability support worker, yet most people simply aren't aware of the benefits, including: job security, flexible hours, varied and creative work, and on-the-job training," says Patrick Maher, Chief Operating Officer of National Disability Services NSW.


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Chloe Lyttle

P: 1300 637 637


career change, rewarding job, community care, disability support worker, carecareers, employment website, NDS, NSW, South Sydney, jobs, careers



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