Hartley Lifecare support worker Stephanie Brown is the ACT’s first Assistive Technology Australia AT Mentor scholarship recipient, that is intended to further her career in disability support.
As a support worker and a family member of a person with a disability, Brown knows the challenges that many people face in engaging with day-to-day activities and understanding the importance of assistive technology.
People with disabilities and carers are an untapped resource in the disability sector and service provision, Assistive Technology Australia CEO Robyn Chapman said.
“This scholarship will support Stephanie to undertake the nationally accredited Certificate IV in Assistive Technology Mentoring and allow her to become an AT Mentor and advise, guide and support people with disabilities in their choices and decisions on AT,” she said.
Brown joins Siobhan Daley from NSW, Deirn Geard and Jocelyn Stocker from QLD and Almah Kuambu from Papua New Guinea who have also been awarded scholarships for this year’s Certificate IV intake, that includes 14 people with a disability, well-placed to use their lived experience to support others.
The Australian Government’s Assistive Technology Strategy, led by the National Disability Insurance Agency, believes the market will operate best when people with disability are engaged in the innovation process. Training and developing peer mentors is a way to provide better advice and guidance for people seeking assistive technologies and support people with disabilities to increase their skills and meaningful work participation.
The strategy also suggests that to build the capacity of NDIS participants, there should be consideration to pairing the participant with a peer mentor and providing scholarships through Assistive Technology Australia is helping to do this. “We encourage the government to look at options to increase this for the benefit of NDIS participants across Australia,” Chapman said.
“There is a wealth of employment opportunities across the assistive technology sector, including retail, in allied health teams and information provision. Our previous Certificate IV in Assistive Technology Mentoring graduates are now working in various roles across the sector, including in information and advice, support co-ordination; and in their own businesses,” Chapman said.