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Career Paths

Disability Support

24% of the New Zealand population identify as disabled. Today, they have more choice and control over how, where and when they’re supported.

This requires disability support workers who are more flexible, knowledgeable and better trained. You’ll be helping people to live as independently as possible and supporting their participation in the community.

What does the job involve?

A disability support worker provides assistance and support for people with an intellectual, sensory and/or physical disability living in a community-based home, day programme, or in their own home. You might be employed in a professional support environment or travel to a person’s home to help with daily tasks.

What skills do you need?

You don’t need formal qualifications at first. It’s more about being the right sort of person.

  • Be practical, organised, flexible and responsible
  • Be supportive, understanding and have an empathetic nature
  • Have good communication skills
  • Relate well to people from a range of cultures
  • Have the ability to work both as part of a team and independently

It’s likely you’ll be expected to train on-the-job for the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing Levels 2 and 3.

More advanced and specialised roles in disability support work will benefit from a Level 4 qualification and higher.

An historic pay equity settlement for care and support workers in New Zealand in 2017 means that care and support workers are now recognised and rewarded based on their qualifications, or their experience.

More information from Careerforce about qualifications in the disability support sector.

What roles are available?

Initially you’ll find yourself in roles like these:

  • Community Support Worker
  • Community Facilitator
  • Home Aide
  • Hospital Orderly
  • Home Care Support Worker
  • Health Care Assistant
  • Health Assistant

As you progress, new opportunities will open up:

  • Senior Community Support Worker/Facilitator
  • Team Leader
  • Service Coordinator
  • Supervisor
  • Specialist roles e.g. in Employment Support, Behaviour Support, Advocacy Support
  • Connector/Navigator Roles
  • Trainer/Assessor
  • Rehabilitation Assistant
  • Rehabilitation Support Staff
  • Hearing Therapist
  • Vision Therapist
  • Rehabilitation Instructor

Our Stories

William & Brett

Support worker Brett works closely with Will, who suffered a significant stroke in 2016. With Brett’s help, Will can keep in touch with his community and his passions.

What are you waiting for?
Start looking for a job now!

Many employers will support on-the-job training where you’ll have the opportunity to earn as you learn, get practical skills and work towards achieving a nationally recognised qualification without taking on a student loan.

Check out these sites to find the right job for you!