“There are so many genuine people chanting for change who aren’t being heard.”

Pegasus jumped at the opportunity to create a passport for workers in collaboration with National Disability Services (NDS). Why? “Because we know our software can manage the change that needs to occur within the industry,” says Jo Dixon, Pegasus Chief Sales Officer and Industry Program Owner.

Launched earlier this year, the Disability Skills Passport is a simple way for Support Workers to show proof of their training and qualifications. The Passport is being trialed among five service providers in Western Australia as part of a pilot before becoming available nationwide from July 2021.

Jo and Karlee Grayson, Industry Program Coordinator, spent a week with the participating service providers in April 2021. They travelled to Western Australia because creating the Passport is one thing—what we really need is to understand the value of the passport to service providers.

“We’re not a company that just sells software and walks away,” says Jo. “We dive deep into every organisation individually to understand how they run their business and how they manage their workforce compliance.”

The current state of the industry shows the need for an overhaul. Findings being released from the ongoing Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability are harrowing.

In almost every conversation with people in the industry, Jo and Karlee hear the same name mentioned: Ann Marie Smith.

When police came to her Adelaide home on 5 April 2020, what they found can only be described as gross negligence. Ann Marie had cerebral palsy, leaving her unable to walk, eat or bathe herself.

Despite having a carer coming to her home every day, it is believed that Ann Marie had been left sitting in the same cane chair 24 hours a day for over a year. She died the following day despite doctors’ best efforts.

When reported by ABC News, they captured the overwhelming sentiment felt by those in the industry. “The case of an Adelaide woman who died after being left by carers in a cane chair 24-hours-a-day for a year shows the community still does not value people with disabilities as much as it should, advocates say.”

Currently, you don’t need to be qualified to care for someone as there is no legislated standard of training that must be met. Many workers enter the industry compassionately, after caring for a family member and realising the benefit of good care to quality of life.

The opportunity to show an online record of your qualifications and capabilities not only benefits the person being cared for, it allows workers to have their skills recognised. Service providers do what they can with what they have, but they’re often overworked, under resourced, and unable to manage worker compliance due to a lack of visibility.

“We simply don’t know who is trained and who isn’t which is risky. The thought of someone completely unqualified caring for vulnerable people is deeply unsettling,” says Jo.

What Pegasus is doing with the Disability Skills Passport is showing the industry what a future could look like with a competency framework in place for support workers. A future state we’re excited about.

“Every time you talk to anybody, any provider, it gives you so much more motivation and energy. It doesn’t matter if you’re working long days, it gives you a really good feeling—that you’ve got the power to create so much change. That’s what we’re doing,” said Karlee.

The emotion was palpable when Jo and Karlee were able to give Jesse the very first Disability Skills Passport card. The feeling that change is coming to the industry and that we get to play a part in it.

Download the brochure to learn more about the Disability Skills Passport.

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