The annual Disability Support Workers (DSW) conference is just around the corner and this is your chance to ‘take the bull by the horns’ and enrich your professional development.
The Disability Support Workers conference is the perfect time for you to come together to hear the latest updates in the disability sector, share best practise and be inspired by the people we support.
Attendees will hear from industry leaders, participate in practical workshops and be given the opportunity to develop skills and learn cutting-edge techniques.
Don’t just take our word for it. We caught up with some of last year’s attendees to find out why it’s ‘kind of a big deal’. Here’s what they had to say:
Why did you attend the 2017 DSW conference?
Kayla: My manager sent me to learn more about what’s going on in the industry and to give me an opportunity to network and to get an insight into what other support workers are doing.
Troy: Part of my annual review was to attend more conferences and training in the disability sector, especially focusing on the NDIS and changes for the future of the industry, so this was the ideal opportunity.
Andrew: I had only just started working in the industry and I love to go to conferences. You can get a qualification and do your training but without going to things like this and keeping up to date with the industry you can’t continue to develop and become the best you can be at what you do. It’s so important to learn new things and keep up to date.
What did you take from the conference?
Kayla: I learnt a lot about other organisations, like what they’re doing with clients and how they’re meeting the goals. I also learnt more about physical and mental health which was really interesting.
There was a speaker who told us more about the legal side of the NDIS which was very useful as it helped me to give information to parents/carers and to help them understand the legalities.
Troy: It was very informative and especially useful for people new to the sector as there was a lot of information about the help and tools available to DSWs and clients.
It was really interesting to meet some people who have already started their NDIS journey and find out what they are entitled to through the NDIS – this kind of information is beneficial for all support workers to know.
Andrew: The conference really bought home that there is a broader community of DSWs who may be doing different things and this gave me the opportunity to tap in to different ideas and work together to learn from each other.
Why is a conference for support workers important for the sector?
Kayla: I think it’s important for us to all be engaged with each other – both the people in our teams and people around Queensland. It is a good opportunity for DSWs to communicate what’s going on in the sector and find out what we can change to better our service and help clients more effectively.
Andrew: It’s really important for professional development. Times change and what we do today may not be relevant in the future. We need to maintain best practise as we’re responsible for the wellbeing of clients so we need to constantly be updating our knowledge.
Have you used the information in your day to day work?
Kayla: Yes definitely. I’ve passed on the things I’ve learnt to clients, especially more about the importance of being active. It’s also influenced the way I present myself in public as it really highlighted the friendly and professional boundary.
Troy: We were also provided with a selection of videos which we were able to take back to show other staff, focusing on different coping strategies for behaviour management. We are utilising these practises day to day.
Andrew: It has made me challenge status quo to consider why am I doing this? Is the best way? Is it just because someone told me to? Is this a lazy option? Also, keeping on top of things like record keeping and documentation – the better we are, the better the lifestyle we can give clients.
What was a highlight for you?
Kayla: Amy Williamson was amazing and really stood out for me. She has a brother with disability and works for Life Without Barriers. She bought a client who lived in Brisbane but wanted to go back to where he was originally from in the Northern Territory. They arranged for a group of disability support workers to get him back there and help him to do all the things he enjoyed like hunting and fishing. It inspired me and encouraged me to try new things with clients – I realised there is so much more we can do if we ask different questions and find out what they want in the long run, not just day-to-day.
Troy: There was a young lady called Jane Lister and her talk was great. Jane has Down Syndrome and she was very open and honest about what she’s done. A particular highlight was when she spoke about getting married and how her lifestyle has improved since the introduction of the NDIS.
Andrew: I remember one story from a lady who, as a result of the NDIS, had her taxi vouchers removed which meant that she had to take the bus. This was a really positive influence as it got her out in the community as she was on the bus not isolated in a taxi.
What would you say to someone else looking to attend?
Kayla: Definitely go – it’s so good to see different people and organisations coming together and hear their stories. It’s also a great networking opportunity – I got some great contacts for other centres who have since given me even more ideas.
Troy: You should go, especially if you are new to the sector.
Andrew: Make time to go along – it’s great value.
What are you waiting for? Buy your early-bird ticket online today at www.dsw.org.au/buy-your-ticket.
When: 20 to 21 February 2018
Tickets: $180 early-bird special until 31 December