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Innovative Training Resources Providing Additional Skills for Mental Health and Disability Workforce

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Parliamentary Secretary for Mental Health, Mr Steve Dimopoulos MP, visited Wodonga TAFE today to meet with students, staff, and service providers who have benefited from the creation of newly-designed training resources to be incorporated into the Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work and the Certificate IV in Disability, both of which are ‘Free TAFE’ courses in Victoria. 

These innovative training resources in Mental Health Peer Work and Disability Support are providing skills for people with lived experience of psychosocial disability to work in the industry as Mental Health Peer Workers, as well as equipping students and existing workers in the disability sector to support people with psychosocial disability through positive behaviour support practice.

The Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System delivered its final report on 3 February 2021 and it was tabled in Parliament by the Victorian Government on 2 March 2021. A key recommendation from the Royal Commission was to enhance care and support that comprises education and peer support to ensure comprehensive and collaborative ongoing and intensive services for people experiencing psychosocial disability (Mental Health).

In partnering to develop and implement psychosocial disability training, ermha365, Wodonga TAFE, and Mental Health Victoria are providing realistic interactive education and experience for students and existing workers across the disability sector, as well as for people with lived experience of psychosocial disability who are studying to work as Mental Health Peer Workers. In 2021 Wodonga TAFE has over 50 students enrolled in the Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work, in partnership with Mental Health Victoria. 

This partnership is part of the Developing the Growing new NDIS (psychosocial disability) Workforce Project that is developing and implementing a $1.5 million package of psychosocial disability training resources, such as podcasts and virtual reality simulations. The project includes the creation of a package of resources designed to provide realistic, interactive education experiences for students. The competencies achieved through successful completion of these units align with the NDIS Practice Standards and Quality Indicators (NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, 2020) for Specialist Behaviour Support Practitioners.

The learning resources are planned to be rolled out to all Victorian TAFEs that offer Certificate IV in Disability, following the pilot that is currently underway.

Wodonga TAFE’s Manager for Community Services and Health, Ms Fiona Maher, said that in creating the resources, ermha365 has used the voice of people with lived experience of psychosocial disability to script VR characters that are very real. "Our students have been able to gain experience in real-life situations during their training and assessment. The VR simulations are designed for the characters to escalate in stages of behaviour when/if the worker (student) does not use effective communication strategies or de-escalate in stages as the worker demonstrates engagement and defusing of the situation through effective communication strategies.” 

“Wodonga TAFE is excited to see the industry and community benefit from this program, and to help provide training for students and disability workers so they're prepared and work-ready on completion of their training to support people living with psychosocial disability”, said Fiona. 

The ‘Free TAFE’ list for 2021 includes more than 50 priority TAFE courses and pre-apprenticeship courses, that offer a wide range of training courses for jobs most in demand from Victorian employers. ‘Free TAFE’ courses include Certificates IV in Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs; Community Services; and Youth Work.



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