The NDIS workforce is one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors in Australia, but an injection of skilled workers is needed to meet the surging demand.
Given that the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is aimed at supporting people with a permanent and significant disability, it’s essential that demand for these critical services is met in the coming years.
Online NDIS service MyCareSpace urges small business owners who are passionate about the sector to consider starting their own NDIS businesses, as there is ample opportunity to
“Running an NDIS small business is an attractive opportunity. While it can be challenging, you get to establish relationships with people from all walks of life and build a customer base that is very loyal,” says Nicole Gamerov, CEO & Founder of MyCareSpace – a platform that connects people living with a disability, their families, and carers with NDIS service providers and information.
“Most importantly, you get the chance to make a profound impact on someone’s life.”
Nicole Gamerov, CEO & Founder of MyCareSpace
Meeting the growing demand
The NDIS service has grown at a rapid pace since its inception in 2013. But as the service expanded, the demand reached new heights.
A government report on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) released in 2021 estimated that 83,000 workers would be needed to adequately supply the sector three years later, but recent statistics show the demand has only since increased.
Although the report estimates that by 2024 around half a million participants would require support through the scheme, this figure has already blown out with more than 534,655 active NDIS participants as of June 2022.
And it’s not just disability support workers that are needed to fill in the gaps. There are 20 occupations included under the NDIS umbrella, from therapists and personal trainers to even driving instructors.
“Therapists are very much in demand by the NDIS. For example, there is a shortage of occupational therapists, so if you are an occupational therapist looking to re-enter the workforce, this is a great time to get your business started.”
So how can providers start their own NDIS business?
“The first step,” says Bianca Shapiro, Chief Operating Officer at MyCareSpace, “is to work out what you are good at and then which geographic areas you can service today. Then do your homework by checking the demand for your services using tools such as the NDIS Demand Map: and the NDIS Data Tool.”
New providers may want to use the NDIS price list to understand which services can be accessed using NDIS funds.
This will give providers a good idea as to how their service or product may be included within an NDIS plan and how much demand may exist for it.
The team at MyCareSpace is quick to point out that all NDIS service providers - big, small or NDIS registered or not - must ensure they are protected by having the relevant insurance in place. They must also comply with the NDIS code of conduct to maintain their position in the NDIS marketplace.
Certain NDIS registration groups and supports can only be delivered by NDIS-registered providers, such as Positive Behaviour Supports (PBS) or Supported Independent Living (SIL).
If you are considering delivering a service that requires you to be NDIS registered, it is important to choose NDIS Registration Groups that apply to your business and that you meet the qualifications to deliver those supports. This is to ensure your business will meet the NDIS Practice Standards relevant to the supports and services your organisation delivers.
While the registration process is thorough, there are resources available on the MyCareSpace platform to guide providers through the process. Bianca Shapiro, Chief Operating Officer at MyCareSpace
The NDIS audit process
After you submit your online application to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, you will receive an ‘initial scope of audit’ document by email from the NDIS Commission. This document contains the registration requirements that apply to your organisation.
whether you require a ‘verification’ or ‘certification’ audit and
what your organisation needs to demonstrate to comply with the relevant NDIS Practice Standards
All providers seeking NDIS registration will be required to undertake an audit against the applicable NDIS Practice Standards as part of the NDIS Commission’s registration requirements. The type of registration they undergo will depend on the NDIS Registration Groups they select.
Under the NDIS Commission, the applicable audit will depend on whether the provider has registered for low risk or high risk NDIS registration groups:
Verification audit A Verification is for providers delivering lower risk or less complex services. It is a desk top audit and the least costly audit.
Certification audit A Certification Audit is Certification is for higher risk, more complex services and supports. It is more complex and costly than a verification audit.
“Keep in mind if you deliver a range of services and just one of them falls into a high-risk
registration group, you will need to undergo a certification audit,” says Bianca.
The NDIS will then contact you to let you know if your application has been successful and the reasons why or why not.
Getting NDIS insurance
Insurance is a requirement of the NDIS registration.
NDIS businesses need Public Liability and Professional Indemnity. They will also need some form of accident cover whether that be Workers Compensation for their employees or Personal Accident & Illness insurance for themselves to pass the audit.
“This can be easily sorted out through our partners at BizCover, who provide a comprehensive package for NDIS providers,” says Nicole Gamerov. “Through BizCover, you can compare insurance packages from some of Australia’s leading insurers, that help meet the needs of disability support workers.”
The bottom line
The NDIS participant numbers are growing at a rapid pace, and a strong workforce is needed to meet the surging demand.
The sector has broadened to include occupations not normally associated with disability care, meaning more and more Australians can apply their trade or service within the NDIS umbrella.
“MyCareSpace is there to connect people looking for disability supports with providers of these NDIS supports,” Bianca says. “We encourage any people interested in starting an NDIS small business to access the resources on our platform and then reach out to us when they need to find customers. They should most certainly contact BizCover for their required business insurance needs.”