People with diverse skills, experiences and perspectives have a lot to offer the workplace.
If you’re ready to work, there are many jobs for people with intellectual disability out there. There are employers who are looking for someone with your skills and qualities for their workplace.
Working can be highly beneficial. Not only does it give you more control over your money, it can also make you feel more confident and satisfied.
Whether you are looking for your first job, returning to work after a break or changing careers, support is available to help you succeed.
Here are 5 resources and services to support people living with intellectual disability find and keep a job.
1. Disability Employment Services
Disability Employment Services is a government funded program that helps find jobs for people with an injury, illness or disability. Eligible participants can get help to prepare for employment, find job opportunities and access ongoing workplace support. The program is delivered by providers across Australia.
A local provider can help with services such as:
- Career advice and planning
- Finding suitable job opportunities
- Work experience
- Applying for jobs
- Preparing for interviews
- Accessing funding for things like transport and uniforms
- Accessing workplace modifications
You can also get support through Disability Employment Services if you are currently working, but need help to stay in work. Providers can help with workplace assessments for accommodations. They can also help you access funding for reasonable adjustments.
You can access Disability Employment Services through Centrelink or by contacting a local provider directly.
2. Everyone Can Work
The Everyone Can Work website provides information about employment for people with intellectual disability. It’s run by Inclusion Australia, the peak advocate body for people with intellectual disability in Australia.
On the Everyone Can Work website, you can find:
- Information about Government programs and supports
- Guides to different types of work, including open employment
- Easy read resources
- Real stories and experiences from people with intellectual disability
- Current research about employment for people with intellectual disability
You can also find online workshops about open employment by Inclusion Australia. These workshops can be completed by families or individuals.
3. Disability Gateway
The Disability Gateway is an online platform by the Australian Government for people living with disability as well as their families and carers. On the website, you can find information, resources and services about living and working with a disability in Australia.
Use the Disability Gateway to find information about:
- Employment training
- Your employment rights
- Finding a job
- Returning to work after a break
- Aids and equipment
- Income and financial supports
- Educational opportunities
The Disability Gateway is a good first stop if you want to find out what services and supports are available in your area. Information is organised by state or territory, so that you can find what’s applicable to your situation. You can also contact the Disability Gateway if you need support using the website.
4. Youth Jobs PaTH Internships
Youth Jobs PaTh supports young people aged 17 to 24 years old to transition into work. This program can help you prepare for the workplace, learn valuable skills and get experience in a real work setting.
The program involves three stages:
- Prepare – helping you become job ready. This involves things like writing your resume, practising interview techniques and learning workplace skills.
- Trial – get work experience through an internship. Internships are 30 to 50 hours per fortnight over 4 to 12 weeks.
- Hire – employers who hire a participant of the Youth Jobs PaTh Internship program are eligible for an incentive of up to $10,000.
To be eligible for the program, you must be aged between 17 to 24 years old, and receive an income support payment. You must also be registered with an eligible employment service, such as Disability Employment Services.
5. Employment Assistance Fund
The Employment Assistance Fund gives financial help to people living with disability for work related accommodations, equipment and services. The fund can help if you are about to start a job, already working or are self employed.
The Employment Assistance Fund can help with things like:
- Adjustments to the physical workplace
- Specialist services
- Information and communication devices
- Special equipment
- Modifications to work vehicles
You can submit an application to the Employment Assistance Fund yourself, or you can work with your employer to submit an application. You can also get assistance accessing funding through a Disability Employment Services provider.
Your pathway to employment
Everyone’s journey with employment is different. A good place to start is by talking with an employment consultant. They can help you think through what types of jobs would be a good fit for you. They may also be able to arrange work experience opportunities so you can see what it’s like working in different environments.
If you’re currently working but finding it hard to cope, a Disability Employment Services provider can help you access funding and accommodations so you can succeed at work. Whatever your situation, support is available to help you reach your goals.