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Conference builds skills to support our most vulnerable

The inaugural Building Opportunities Building Communities Conference, brought together over 100 thinkers and support practitioners for people with disability and children and youth in Out of Home Care.

Possability’s  Nicola Crates with Professor Christine Bigby at the Conference.

The conference, presented by Possability’s Research Institute, was held at the University of Tasmania in December 2018 and was officially opened by Minister for Disability and Community Services, The Hon. Jacquie Petrusma.

Possability CEO Drew Beswick, says the conference aimed to enhance professional development opportunities in Tasmania for the disability and child and youth support sectors.

“Community sector practitioners increasingly need to provide creative solutions to complex problems with limited resources – particularly in the environment of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

“Organisations are experiencing growing demand for services and must provide evidenced-based outcomes, as well as value for money.

“Training and coaching to upskill the workforce has never been more critically important.”

Held over two days, speakers included leading national and international leaders in the sector, including Keynote speaker Professor Christine Bigby from La Trobe University. Professor Bigby shared her latest research on how active support practices for people with disability in group homes improve quality of life outcomes for residents.

The other keynote speaker was Dr. Elizabeth Hughes, Clinical Director for the Institute for Applied Behaviour in Los Angeles, California. Dr. Hughes presented results of a six year project with a school district in Los Angeles to create new models of service to assist young students with behaviours of concern.

The conference also featured national and Tasmanian speakers, including a North West Tasmanian advocacy group, Mainstream and Me, comprising parents with disability. They presented a workshop to equip service providers to work better with people with disability and reduce the over-representation of parents with intellectual disability engaging with child safety services.

Other speakers included representatives of government agencies, not for profit organisations, businesses and peak bodies across disability, acquired brain injury, child and youth services and education.

Following the success of the event, Possability’s Research Institute intends to hold the conference again in the future.

Thank you to our sponsors – University of Tasmania, HESTA, Accesspay and  Nexus Inc. disability services.

CEO Drew Beswick with presenters Matthew Spicer and Dr Robyn Miller, CEO of MacKillop Family Services at the conference.