Harnessing Collective Energy
Re-evaluating, Reimagining, Resolving: creative solutions for a sustainable disability workforce

  Re Evaluating Reimagining Resolving WIC Event  
 Pictured L to R: Jan Kruger- Imagine More, Rebecca Vassarotti- Panel Facilitator, Deborah Fulton- Uniting Care Kippax, Kylie Stokes- Sharing Places, Cathy Bucolo- Summer Foundation, Susan Beaumont- Achieve by Design, David Hill- Achieve by Design and WIC Co-Chair, Wendy Prowse- WIC Co-Chair

On Thursday 8th August 2019, members of the ACT Disability community came together at the sold-out event ‘Re-evaluating, Reimagining, Resolving’ to hear about the achievements of the Workforce Impact Collective (WIC) and the six pilots supported by the project.

The evening was opened by Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith who thanked everyone who had been involved in the innovative WIC Project, including WIC Steering Group members, WIC Backbone, ACT Government representatives, Pilot leads, Reference Group members, Pilot participants and supportive members of the community.

Following this, NDS ACT Manager Rey Reodica introduced representatives from each of the Pilots and the Workforce Impact Collective, and a lively panel discussion took place. Insights from the WIC Project and the Pilots were shared with audience members who were also given the opportunity to ask their own questions of pilot leads. Key themes addressed were specific benefits to the disability workforce, key successes, challenges encountered, and sustainability of each of the pilots and the Workforce Impact Collective beyond the project life.

At the end of the event, all guests had the opportunity to mingle, discuss learnings and reflect on how the collective energy evident in the room could be harnessed, so that members of the disability community could continue to work to improve the capacity and capability of the ACT Disability Workforce into the future.

To watch a video featuring the WIC Project each of the pilots click here.

Reserve Your Place Now!

Text Re-evaluating Reimaging Resolving Creative Solutions for a sustainable disability workforce 8 August 2019 University House ANU
Thursday 8th August 2019 (6:00pm - 7:30pm)

Join us at this special evening event which will be held on Thursday 8th August 2019, 6:00pm to 7:30pm, at the Common Room, University House ANU where stakeholders and the wider ACT community will be informed of the findings that have emerged from the WIC project and the learnings from each of the individual WIC pilots. This will also be an opportunity for all those who have been involved at any stage of the WIC project to celebrate its achievements. Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith will be addressing the gathering which will feature a Q & A session around the WIC Project and Pilots. Bookings can be made by going to Eventbrite or by phoning WIC on 02 6283 3208.

One of our Mature-Aged Worker Pilot Participants has become a TV star!

Double click here to see a heart-warming story that aired on Nine Canberra News last week. This news item featured one of the participants in the Mature-Aged Workers pilot, Janelle Billet, supporting one of her clients, Catherine Hill. The bond between them is unmistakeable!

WIC Pilot provides a pathway for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgounds to enter the disability Workforce.

CALD Information Session 1   CALD Information Workshop 1

Have you heard about the WIC pilot that is helping people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds to become disability support workers?

The pilot is focused on developing diversity in the disability support sector to better represent people with a disability, one of four of whom in Australia are from CALD backgrounds.

Managed by Uniting Care Kippax, this pilot has helped people like Rojeh, a chemistry lecturer who fled his hometown in Syria in February 2019, to achieve his dream of helping others. It has also helped Tam Ant who moved to Canberra from Vietnam in February 2018 and wants to work with people with disabilities from Vietnamese and Asian backgrounds.

Rojeh, Tam Ant and other participants in this inspiring pilot will soon begin disability support work training at CIT - their first step towards a satisfying and rewarding career in the disability sector.

Fast forward one hour and thirty two minutes into this Radio 666 audio clip to hear all about the pilot and how it has made a difference to people from CALD backgrounds.


Innovative video program to improve communication between people with disabilities and support workers

It can be difficult for someone with cognitive or communication impairments to explain to a support worker ‘in the moment’ how they would like to be supported to achieve their goals and maintain choice and control over the support they receive. These communication barriers can cause challenges and discomfort for both the person with disability and the worker who is supporting them. In these situations, people with disability are often left feeling disempowered and voiceless.

An innovative new program is ensuring that people with disability are able to take control of their support through the Participant-Led Videos (PLV) pilot in Canberra. Summer Foundation, the not-for-profit running PLV, is training disability professionals to support people with cognitive and communication impairments to create instructional training videos for their support workers.

By capturing on-camera a detailed presentation of one’s goals, lifestyle, needs, wants, likes and dislikes, the person with disability can articulate how they want to be supported without having to explain everything to a new support worker in-person or ‘in the moment.’ Instead, incoming support workers can watch their video as a key part of their training and induction.

PLV, which started in January, is one of six different pilot programs funded through the ACT Workforce Impact Collective (WIC), a forward-thinking investment in the disability sector by the ACT Government. It is funded through the Commonwealth’s NDIS Sector Development Fund and facilitated by National Disability Services. Through the various pilots, WIC aims at improving the quality, capacity and capability of the ACT Disability Workforce so that people living with a disability have greater choice and control.

“We believe this is a world-first initiative that is revolutionising the way support is provided to people with cognitive and communication impairments,” said Carolyn Finis, Chief of Staff at the Summer Foundation. “It’s so important that people feel their preferences and goals are being considered and built into the support they receive right from the start. This video approach makes that all much easier and really gives people a voice.”

The Summer Foundation is training sector professionals on 1 July on how to support people with disability to identify their goals and needs, and to present them on-camera to develop the instructional videos. The workshops also cover filming, editing and sharing the videos. For anyone who is not available to attend, the Summer Foundation has created a comprehensive suite of resources so the initiative extends well beyond the workshops and PLV pilot program.

Even in its pilot phase, PLV has made immensely positive changes to people’s lives. “This is the best gift anyone has ever given me,” said Richard, one of the first people with disability to make an instructional video through PLV.

In Richard’s seven-minute video, he and his current support worker, Margaret, present his daily routine, what he likes doing and why it’s important to him to have support when speaking. Richard is also able to demonstrate on-camera how he would like to be supported to achieve his goals and maintain his independence.

Michael is another participant who praises the revolutionary PLV program. “It came together really well, I’m impressed. We did well,” he said of his own instructional video, which focuses on how support workers can support his hydrotherapy goals.

“To see the incredibly positive reactions of participants like Richard and Michael after they watched their completed videos really shows us what kind of impact this program can continue to have”. “We are thrilled to be offering a video training workshop to the disability sector in Canberra in early July and we are confident that the more people have access to videography as a tool to have their voice heard, the more lives will be changed for the better.”

The one-handed drummer who found his perfect partner 

Bryan and the drum tech
                                                                      Marco (left) and Bryan (right)

Read this heart-warming story about Bryan Carey who is playing his first drumming gig since being diagnosed with a brain tumour. Bryan’s reduced mobility meant that he needed a support worker – but not a traditional support worker. That is where Imagine More’s ‘Roles Based Recruitment’ project helped him. Using the project’s recruitment guidelines Bryan was able to find his perfect gig partner in Marco, a drum tech. ‘Roles Based Recruitment’ is another Workforce Impact Collective Project made possible by a $1.27 million investment from the ACT Government with support from the Commonwealth’s NDIS Sector Development Fund.

Read Bryan’s story

Key Workers approach delivers personalised care

Key Worker Eh Paw and Dainis Sharing Places Project
Key Worker Eh Paw and Dainis (right) enjoy a day out.

“Having someone who is taking the time to get to know our family and my son is important,” Mara Eversons, a mother based in Canberra, says of her experience with an innovative team approach to delivering care to her son with complex needs. “We know who to talk to and receive consistency in care and an understanding of his special needs.”

The approach Ms. Eversons refers to is called ‘Key Workers’ and is part of a pilot project, ‘Communication- a Partnership with Service Users’, undertaken by Sharing Places, a specialist ACT organisation that helps adults with disabilities, including those with high and complex needs, to participate in community, social and civic activities.

This pilot has been testing a range of communication approaches with the aim of improving the quality, capacity and capability of the ACT Disability Workforce so that people living with a disability have greater choice and control. It is one of six different pilots funded through the innovative ACT Workforce Impact Collective, a forward thinking investment in the disability sector by the ACT Government (funded through the Commonwealth Sector Development Fund and facilitated by National Disability Services).

“The Key Workers model aims at increasing two-way communication between the family and the support workers who help them in their daily lives,” explains Kylie Stokes, Executive Director of Sharing Places. “Traditional models of care often involve support workers assisting as many as 15 clients each,” Ms. Stokes says. “The pilot project has allowed Sharing Places to group families and users – the Key Participants - with Key Workers. This means one staff member might have just two Key Participants who they get to know very well, including the activities the person likes and what their goals are”.

Eh Paw Thorpe, the Key Worker who supports Mara’s son Dainis, says “This approach has improved team communication and information sharing, including between the Key Workers and the families”. “Monthly newsletters and regular team meetings with Key Workers and Key Participants have also improved communication”, she says.

Importantly, Mara has seen a significant change in the level of care provided to Dainis since the Key Workers pilot commenced in January. “We feel like there is more interest in doing what’s best and what our son likes best. We have a contact point and can share details, which we had not been willing to share with just anybody previously,” Ms. Eversons says.

Through this pilot project and others the Workforce Impact Collective is delivering impressive results. This is supported by Ms Stokes who says “Our staff are delivering more personalised care than ever before, helping not just meet the needs of clients, but helping them achieve their goals and pursue their unique interests as individuals. That’s what quality, consistent care is about.”

As part of the project, Sharing Places will be developing a Communications Toolkit to be shared with the sector later in 2019.

Harnessing a Collaborative Vision 

Stakeholders in the ACT Disability Sector came together on 23rd May 2019 at a WIC Visioning Workshop to reflect upon the learnings of the WIC journey so far, and to discuss how the collective impact process could continue into the future. The session was run by Sophie Pinwell and Dave Green from Clear Horizon. Present were people with lived experience of a disability, disability support workers and representatives from Sharing Places, Hartley Life Care, Koomarri, Catholic Care, Valmar, Belconnen Community Services, Mental Health Foundation, Community Connections, CIT, ACTCOSS and NDS as well as members of the WIC Steering Group. Thank you to all of the wonderful people who attended on the day and participated in the workshop with enthusiasm and optimism for the future.

Kylie Stokes from Sharing Places Karen Noble from CIT Mary Ann Kal from Sharing Places and Sue Healy OAM   Marija Lemnic and Sue Healy OAM from WIC Steering Group
 Kylie Stokes (Sharing Places), Karen Noble (CIT), Mary-Ann Kal (Sharing Places) and Sue Healy OAM (WIC Steering Group)    Marija Lemnic (WIC Steering Group) and Sue Healy OAM (WIC Steering Group)
Faye Jackson from Community Connections and Lou Bannister from WIC Steering Group   Mark Beanland from Valmar and Renee Heaton from WIC Steering Group
Faye Jackson (Community Connections) and Lou Bannister (WIC Steering Group)   Mark Beanland (Valmar) and Renee Heaton (WIC Steering Group)


Lou Bannister - Redefining Leadership

Congratulations to our wonderful WIC Steering Group member Lou Bannister who is always 'larger than life' and now appears larger than life in the ACT 'Redefine Leadership' Exhibition in the Canberra Centre in the ACT throughout March. If you can’t make the exhibition, you can read about Lou’s achievements at https://www.womenaustralia.info/exhib/wwdact/entry-louise-bannister.html

Lou Bannister

Louise at the opening of the ‘Redefining Leadership’ Exhibition at the Canberra City Centre.











Congratulations Sue Healy, OAM

Our warmest congratulations to a dedicated member of our Workforce Impact Collective Steering Group, Sue Healy, for being awarded a 2019 Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to people with a disability. It is wonderful to see Sue’s amazing contributions recognised in such a special way.

Sue Healy OAM
Sue Healy, OAM

Gathering Collective Momentum

Stakeholders in the ACT Disability Sector recently gathered to discuss solutions and ideas to strengthen the state’s disability workforce. On 20 November 2018, the ACT Workforce Impact Collective (WIC) hosted the event, Gathering Collective Momentum: people, ideas and resources, which was also attended by the ACT Minister for Disability Rachel Stephen-Smith.

The evening focussed on WIC’s journey to date, and featured current innovative projects to improve services for people living with a disability. Guest speaker Cathy Bucolo from Summer Foundation, based in Victoria, presented their project on participant-led videos. The project supported people with disability to make their own training videos for support workers. David Hill and Susan Beaumont from Achieve by Design also presented their WIC pilot that aims to encourage mature age workers to join the disability workforce.

Attendees enjoyed the opportunity to exchange and discuss ideas, which demonstrated the sense of community created by a collective approach. During the event, the WIC team also announced current funding opportunities, and encouraged individuals, groups or organisations to submit proposals. 

Gathering Momentum3   Gathering Momentum4
ACT Minister for Disability Rachel Stephen-Smith (front row) and other attendees inspired by the presentations.  
Paul Mugambi and NDS ACT State Manager Rey Reodica chat at the end of the presentation.