By Katelyn Barakat

We’re proud we’ve changed and we set the bar high on the qualifications we expect our people to have when they start working at Afford. This is especially the case with client-facing roles, but we also hire highly skilled corporate services talent and leaders.

Our rigour when it comes to qualifications, experience and skills starts from the top down – including our recruitment for Board Directors, Executive Leaders, Senior Leaders, managers and specialists. We apply a rigorous skills matrix to this process – and we then invest in continuous learning for everyone at Afford.

The key ways we have changed over the past 18 months to ensure we hire qualified people to fulfil their roles and the purpose and mission of our organisation are:

  • We have developed a rigorous skills and experience matrix for leadership.
  • We have invested in meaningful leadership development.
  • All new recruits must have a Certificate III qualification, or are working towards this, client-facing roles.
  • Continuous learning underpins our performance management process.

Rigorous skills and experience matrix for leadership

Afford has established a rigorous skills and experience matrix for its Board of Directors, Executive Leadership Team and Senior Leadership Team.

When it comes to skills and experience, this is an important part of operating with effectiveness and efficiency at Afford – and we have invested in finding the right people with the right qualifications, skills set, culture and values alignment, and applied experience.

We take the responsibility of leadership seriously at Afford. When we say that, we mean we hire leaders that have an exceptional background in human services, social purpose and business. We ensure that we have complimentary and well-developed skills across:

  • Strategy and planning.
  • Operational management for disability services.
  • Systems and technology.
  • Finance and procurement.
  • Governance and risk management.
  • Quality, safety, safeguarding and practice.
  • Customer experience.
  • Research and insights.
  • People, organisational development, wellbeing and human resources.
  • Stakeholder engagement, brand, marketing and communications.

Our Board of Directors and leadership teams bring decades of senior level experience and post-graduate level qualifications to Afford.

Investment in meaningful leadership development

We back our leadership team to grow. Historically this is an area that has had poor investment in the not-for-profit sector and the human services sector, and we’re changing that at Afford.

As our leadership team formed in late 2021, and coalesced in 2022, we undertook a series of workshops guided by Gallup across the CliftonStrengths  framework. As we engaged our teams with the Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement framework throughout 2022, we empowered managers and leaders across the organisation to be champions and the same team members will also attend our first Afford Leadership Conference in early 2024.

If there’s a gap in our leadership capacity, we identify it and fill it with learning and mentorship. We give people the opportunity to stretch, grow and advance. We are committed to ensuring that the disability services sector not only has staff – it has talent, knowledge, is future-proof with succession planning and great people empowered with learning and qualifications to best support people living with disability.

Certificate III is an essential – and then some

At Afford, it is an essential skill requirement for new recruits to have a Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) or be working towards it. Often shorthanded to ‘Cert III in Disability’, this is a nationally recognised qualification with Structure Workplace Learning and Assessment (SWLA).

In addition to qualifications, we also require the following:

At Afford, that’s the entry point. We continue to develop our client-facing teams from there.

We check people’s qualifications on entry to our organisation – at all levels – and where reaccreditation is required, we ensure we track this to maintain the highest standards, and currency of knowledge.

Continuous learning underpins our performance management process

Our Performance & Development Framework and Learning & Development Strategy are interlinked. We make sure that as our people identify where they want to improve and grow, we support that learning and development. We set our people up for success to achieve their goals, so they can in turn support our clients to achieve their goals.

We invest in learning that aligns with the creation of high performing teams because we want to contribute to creating a high performing disability services sector.

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