Career progression for Support Coordinators
Oh The Places You’ll Go
Whether you are new to your Support Coordination role, or have a few years of experience under your belt, you might be wondering: where can the role of Support Coordinator can take me?
I have been a Support Coordinator for eight years and during that time I have moved up the ranks, trained Support Coordinators, and even taken the reins of my own Support Coordination business. Let’s look at where a role in Support Coordination might take you in the future.
Support Coordinators may choose to specialise in areas of interest or need. Here a few of my favourite areas to focus:
Home and Living: every single participant needs a place to call home, so specialising in sourcing NDIS Home and Living solutions is a safe specialisation bet. Support Coordinators can play a role in helping participants to explore Specialist Disability Accommodation eligibility, understand various Individualised Living Options and evaluate the quality of Supported Independent Living providers.
Education and post school transition: under 18’s are the fastest growing cohort of participants. Families with school aged children will tell you that thirteen years is a long time to rub up against the NDIS v Education interface. Speaking from personal experience, the only thing scarier than fighting with the school system, is imaging life beyond school. Support Coordinators with excellent stakeholder management skills and inside knowledge of the workings of education can be an invaluable asset to participants and their families.
Psychosocial Disability: according to NDIS published data, 10% of participants have a primary psychosocial disability and a further 10% have a secondary diagnosis. Participants living with psychosocial disability are more likely to receive Support Coordination funding and will benefit from a Support Coordinator who is familiar with the interface with the Mental Health system, the NDIA Operational Guidelines for Mental Health and Psychosocial Disability, and the use of recovery-oriented practice.
If you need help to decide a specialisation area, check out the Participant dashboards where NDIA publish participant data listed by impairment, age, gender and more.
Could you have the skills and experience to take Support Coordination to the next level?
The majority of Support Coordination is included in a participant plan at Level 2: Coordination of Support @ $100.14 per hour. However, where there are ‘specific high complex needs or high-level risks in a participant situation’, we may see the NDIA decide to fund Level 3: Specialist Support Coordination @ $190.54 per hour.
The NDIA do not specify a minimum qualification to provide Level 3, however the Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits document mentions ‘delivery by an appropriately qualified and experienced practitioner to meet the individual needs of the participant circumstances such as Psychologist, Occupational Therapist, Social Worker or Mental Health Nurse’.
A mentor is someone who shares their knowledge, skills and experience in order to help others to develop and grow. The aims of mentoring can include:
Brainstorming ideas to resolve issues for participants
Sharing knowledge and resources
Guidance for sustainable practices as a Support Coordinator
Examination of workflow and professional practice to improve efficiency and outcomes
One of my experienced team members was looking for a new challenge, as well as a way to share her six years of Support Coordination expertise. She now offers mentoring, and you can find out more about it here.
Team leader AKA ‘Cos Boss’
If you have a propensity for leadership, then stepping into a team leader role might suit your skills. A team leader may take responsibility for accepting new referrals, managing caseload allocation, responding to complaints, interpreting NDIS legislation, decoding NDIA operational guidelines, coordinating crisis response, reviewing documentation, reports and support plans. If you are the CoS Boss, be prepared to answer questions - lots and lots of questions.
Some brave souls are keen to ‘go all the way’ and set themselves up as providers. As a sole owner and director of a Support Coordination organisation, I can report that there is a lot of responsibility in being a business owner.
Depending on the structure, size and scale of your business, be prepared to take responsibility for all areas of governance and compliance including:
human resource management: recruitment, worker screening, training and performance management
financial governance: payroll, tax, superannuation, invoicing, insurance
work health and safety: managing physical and psychological risks in the workplace
compliance: code of conduct, complaints, reportable incidents, and if you choose to become a registered provider then add adherence to the NDIS Commission audit cycle to your to-do list.
The places you go might depend on the places you have been
When attendees at DSC workshops introduce themselves, I am thrilled to know that the NDIS is attracting people with a vast array of previous work experience including education, health, social work, child protection, early intervention, the list goes on. I particularly enjoy meeting Support Coordinators who are people with a lived experience of disability, or who have a connection to disability through family and friends, like I do. When you are a Support Coordinator, nothing in your past is wasted.
“You’re off to great places, today is your day, your Support Coordination career is waiting, so get on your way.”
Artwork by David Steele.