Australia’s premier Disability Employment Service

Here’s a key question to consider: how useful are disability employment services? One disturbing answer is ‘Sometimes not at all’. Fortunately another answer is ‘They can be your best resource’.

When it comes to employment, it’s important to know that making an informed choice of service provider makes a big difference. Not just in getting a job, but in keeping it too.

One of the most appealing features of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the freedom to choose your own services, and the ways in which they will support you. This includes choosing an Employment Support Service, should you wish to find a job. (And remember, here at NOVA we have a ‘zero exclusion’ policy when matching people with jobs; we encourage everybody to find out what’s possible.)

The trouble with choice though – and we’ve all experienced this at some time – is that it can stop us in our tracks, overwhelm us with uncertainty and anxiety.

So let’s talk about data for a moment. Each year the Commonwealth publishes a range of Disability Employment Services reports on the Labour Market Information Portal, including star ratings and provider outcomes by disability type. Inclusion Australia (very helpfully!) condenses this data into clear and accessible tables.

You don’t need to go deep to draw conclusions. Keep in mind that 30 per cent of jobseekers with a disability will find work independent of an Employment Support Service. In other words, an ESS with outcomes (that is, placements) less than 30 per cent are hardly delivering at all. NOVA Employment averages over 50 per cent in placements, across a wide range of disability types, and close to 50 per cent of our jobs last for a minimum of 26 weeks. This places us at the top of most rankings, and our outcomes are above the national average in every instance. (Even as we accept all comers, which many ‘support’ services do not.)

As for star ratings, well, you can’t ask for more than the five stars awarded to every NOVA site in the latest published data (May 2017). But here’s the thing: we do aim higher, and continue to reach and surpass the additional goals we set for ourselves, relating to hours worked each week, rates of pay and job retention.

Once again I find myself thanking my extraordinary team. And I am ready and willing to declare NOVA Employment Australia’s premier disability employment service.

- Martin Wren