The approach

Work is good. Not for everyone but for most of us. Ask any of my clients on any given day and they’ll tell you that work: 

  • Gives us a reason to get up in the morning
  • Makes us feel valued
  • Helps us form friendships
  • Pays us fairly for a fair day’s work
  • Gives us a reason to be tired at the end of the day
  • Takes us closer to living independently (of carers, family and the State)
  • Means we’re paying tax! That is, contributing to the society that also helps us.

For these reasons – and many more – I maintain that from work stems all other forms of independence. I go on and on about this in my book The Ten Demandments but essentially good work can enable good living through providing a valued role, increasing income and sociability, training the mind and body to meet challenges and supporting people through tough times. The list goes on … 

The best way of finding and sustaining award-wage employment for people with disability is to seek a job that suits individual skills and interests then support them in that role for as long as they need support. This may be three months, three years or longer. But these are the facts:

  • Job seekers with disability are 50% more likely be in work six months later when placed into employment where ability and aspiration is matched to opportunity.
  • With good post-placement support, job seekers with disability are 80% more likely to be in work six months after starting work. 

Old approaches haven’t worked. Worse than that, subsidised positions almost always end with the worker being out of work after the subsidy ends. This means that, through no fault of their own, people with disability feel as though they have failed. And no amount of explaining that ‘It’s the system’s fault’ stops them from blaming themselves. 

People with disability deserve better. In the last twenty-odd years I have developed a model that delivers better. The details can be found in The Ten Demandments but if you’d rather read the executive summary, here it is:

  • Offer employment services to all job seekers, no matter how significant their barriers seem 
  • Find out about the job seeker’s skills, interests and experience and lead the job-seeking campaign with their strengths
  • Wherever possible, ensure that the same staff person provides training, helps with job seeking and provides post-placement support to the job seeker 
  • When looking for possible employment, aim high on the job seeker’s behalf 
  • Provide effective job matching and post-placement support instead of relying on subsidies
  • Ensure the job seeker is as actively engaged in their job seeking as possible
  • Look for jobs that are tailored to the job seeker. (This seems obvious but is not the norm.)
  • Train, support and care for disability employment service staff. They need it. It’s an important role that can be tough at times.
  • Enable the job seeker’s connection to supportive people and services within their community.

Job seekers must be supported to maintain their employment for as long as they need this support. Remember, with effective job matching and strong post-placement support, people with disability are likely to be in work after six months 80% of the time. (This is opposed to 50% if just handed a job and left to get on with it.) So, supporting people to find and stay in work improves retention by more than 50%. 

People with disability are better off, their families are better off, the economy is better off, society overall is better off when those people with disability willing and able to work are given this choice. Do we have any right to deny them? If your answer is a resounding 'No!' do get in contact.

 

 
As part of my new book, The Ten Demandments, I've created a free, downloadable guide called: ‘The job seekers’ guide to finding a great employment service’. This guide provides job seekers with a set of ten questions to ask their current or prospective employment service to ascertain if they are likely to find them an award-wage job that suits their skills and interests. To access the free guide, please click here.