Not only does the workforce need to grow, the sector also needs to attract different types of workers with backgrounds as diverse as service users themselves. These projects document how different services are rising to the challenge.
Wellways is looking at how to meet the needs and preferences of their clients from the LGBTIQ+ community. Their strategy is to recruit workers who identify as queer and can draw on that experience. For example, they could support another person who wants to get out and socialise more to build confidence in using transport at night and understand ways to stay safe. Ethnic Community Services Co-operative is using a similar approach, leveraging its connections across ethnic communities to recruit, train and on-board a group of bilingual, bicultural workers.
Plumtree Children's Services is also diversifying its workforce but in this case, through the use of peer workers who are parents who take up the role of supporting other parents to navigate choices about support options for their children. This project is also providing insights into the challenges of integrating a peer worker solution into an existing organisational structure.
Other projects are also exploring this territory including those targeting service users and workers from ATSI backgrounds. For more on these projects by NPY Women’s Council, Centacare, Synapse and Growing Potential check out the section on addressing thin markets.