Are you a medical professional with patients who have a chronic health issue or disability and who want to upskill to improve their career options?
Would you know how to support them in this decision?
Did you know there are a range of local resources available for your local patients which you can access on this subject?
The Australian Government has developed the National Disability Coordination Program (NDCO) where local representatives actively work with community stakeholders to help working-age Australian adults with a disability or chronic health problem to access further education.
The hope is that individuals will be able to use this education to upskill and secure meaningful employment.
All Australian educational institutions must comply with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) Education Standards which sets out the rights of students and the obligations of educational institutions to support them.
There are many vocational education and training (VET) courses and a myriad of support systems to support working age Australians with a disability or chronic health issue to access further education.
Students now have the option of studying online, in face-to-face situations, in a formal setting with or without specialised supports or a mixture of the above making education more accessible to people with physical, mental and psycho-social disabilities than ever before.
Qualifications which are available to students in a supported learning environment cover the gamut of options from Certificate IIIs to Advanced Diplomas and are often the first step in higher education for the individual.
The Queensland Government has created a portal - Queensland Gateway Skills - to search for local educational courses included those which are fully funded and subsidised.
The Australian Government’s myskills website also has a portal providing similar information for Australian educational institutions.
Available subsidised courses
There are a number of courses which are partially or fully subsidised which may be available to your patients who have a disability or chronic health issue.
Certificate 3 Guarantee courses: These courses are heavily subsidised by the Queensland Government with an aim to help individuals obtain their first post-school Certificate III qualification. This subsidy can only be accessed once so it is important students choose the right course for them. Funding for these courses is designed to minimise skills shortages and focus on training for jobs which are in high demand.
Skilling Queenslanders for Work: An initiative to help individuals to gain the skills, qualifications and experience required to help them enter, or remain in, the workforce.
The programs are targeted at different groups and are often free or financially accessible for young people, mature-aged job seekers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people with disability, women re-entering the workforce, and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
It is important to do research prior to embarking on the course to ensure the VET provider can meet all your educational needs.
For more information on how you can assist and speak with your patients about access to education, click here.
For more information contact your local National Disability Coordination Officers (NDCO). Southern Queensland – Debbie, firstname.lastname@example.org or 5458 3063; Central Queensland – Julie, Julie.email@example.com or 4932 8010; North Queensland - David, firstname.lastname@example.org or 0488 794 483.
ABOUT NDCO: The NDCO program is an initiative of the Australian Government to assist working-age adults (15-64) with disability to successfully transition into further education and subsequent employment by developing partnerships with stakeholders in the local community.