New Junior Staff Positions

March 16, 2017

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IOE has always been proud of the contribution teenage volunteers have made to the service throughout the years. Now IOE would like to be able to support these young people further by providing them with employment opportunities which not only use, but build on to, the skills they have learned through volunteering.

We have seen first hand the benefits young people can bring to their various volunteering roles.

Children have benefited: young volunteers have the energy levels that match the children; are positive role models; are lots of fun and easily form friendships and connections with the children.

Young Volunteers have benefited: from a sense of purpose; skills development; making connections; mentoring opportunities; feeling good about doing good.

IOE has benefited: using young volunteers has enabled IOE to provide 1:1 support on recreational based programs; develop community connections; created a pathway to recruitment for employment

Support worker recruitment can be a challenge, not only having enough staff, but the right staff, is a priority for IOE.

As NDIS transitions the demand for support workers will increase, so too will IOE’s need for more staff to fill these positions. When considering what’s ahead and taking into account the benefits of using young volunteers, we have decided to increase the age span of our workforce. Currently the age a person can be employed by IOE is 18. We will now be recruiting young people from 16 years of age. We are currently establishing some guidelines around when and how junior staff can be used.

Screening and training expectations will be consistent with current requirements: crim check, induction, first aid, medication and manual handling. There will be an expectation that junior staff work in home with supervision unless agreed to by both IOE and the family. We hope to also use junior staff on recreational activities to assist with training and succession of staff in the future.

We will not be advertising these junior staff positions. Teenage volunteers who have displayed the appropriate skills will be invited to apply to become a junior support worker. We will also employ people bought to us by families to specifically work with them. Junior staff will not be booked into any shifts unless requested by a family. Over the next few weeks IOE will finalise a position description and hopes to start recruitment in May.

We also hope that the prospect of gaining employment prior to 18 will attract more volunteers at 14 years of age, assisting us to maintain the preferred 1:1 support options on children’s recreation activities, while training them up for possible employment.

I think this is a great opportunity for our volunteers and I believe many families will be excited about the prospect of using people that their child knows and relates to. Please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns or suggestions.

Belinda James

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