Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities

Posted: | By Sunrise Medical
Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities

According to data from Australia Bureau of Statistics, out of the 2.1 million Australian’s with a disability that had reached working age, only 1 million were employed. 

Although this number is low (as of 2015), there have been significant developments towards achieving equality in the workplace to enhance the inclusion of people with disabilities in Australia’s workforce.

There are a wide range of Australian stakeholders, government programs and resources that provide support to help individuals with disabilities in seeking and maintaining employment. This could include career path investigation, mentoring, skills training and general information on applying for a job.

Tapping into these services and resources that can help you overcome employment challenges and reach your full potential.

Useful Resources and Support Services for Jobseekers with Disability

Disability Employment Services (DES)

The providers of Disability Employment Services aim to find people with disabilities employment and help to maintain this employment.  They can connect people with disabilities with potential employers.  They help businesses and companies come up with practices aimed at supporting their employees with disabilities in the workplace. Some of these practices include financial support and flexible working arrangements.

DES providers also go an extra step by advising organisations on promoting job openings, short listing applicants as well as interviewing individuals with a disability. The DES program is comprised of two parts:

  • Disability Management Service - This is a service tailored to help you gain employment opportunities and further help you to retain your position if you have a disability, health condition or injury.
  • Employment Support Service- This program can help you if you have a permanent disability and require regular, ongoing support to retain your job.

If you are eligible for this program, you get access to personally tailored services such as training and work experience to help you acquire skills that are needed to gain employment. DES providers’ partner with schools and other institutions to make sure employment assistance is in place once you are ready to participate.

Employment Assistance Fund

The Employment Assistance Fund provides organisations with financial assistance to acquire equipment and do the necessary work-related modifications to create a suitable workplace environment for employees with disabilities. These changes could include modifying work vehicles and physically modifying your work environment.

You can benefit from the EAF if you have a disability and are looking to start a job, currently working, or if you need help to find and prepare for employment. If you are self-employed and have a disability you are also eligible for EAF.

JobAccess

An initiative started and funded by the Australian Government to provide information, advice, adjustments and workplace solutions to jobseekers with different disabilities and their employers. They also provide information on websites where you can search for a job. The JobAccess website includes recruitment guides and checklists, workplace adjustment, employer incentives, workplace rights and responsibilities and much more.

The Supported Wage System (SWS)

The SWS was set up to help employees with disability, who cannot do jobs in the same capacity as other staff members. Under the SWS, special arrangements are set up to allow employers to pay wages based on productivity to persons whose work output is reduced because of the effects of the disability. However, the employer’s formal agreement should contain arrangements for SWS if they would like to apply for SWS. The SWS application allows a qualified assessor to review work productivity of the employee with disability after every 12 months or earlier.

The assessor reviews the employee’s job description, the time taken performing each job including hours and days, the required level of supervision, and break times. Moreover, the assessor ensures that any workplace modifications the employee with disability requires to do their tasks are in place.

Australian Disability Enterprises

Australian Disability Enterprises are for-profit businesses that hire and support persons with disabilities who require a higher level of continued support, often in contract labour arrangements, work crews or specialist working environments. They operate across a wide range of enterprises from metal fabrication, printing, and graphic design to landscaping, recycling, and packaging.  They have more than 300 outlets all over Australia and offer low cost, high-quality products. The Australian Disability Enterprises employees enjoy same working privileges and conditions as the common personnel. 

JobSearch

This is a free job search website in Australia funded and operated by the government. It helps job seekers to find the right job for them, as well as connect employers with qualified staff. Employment agencies and public employers upload job vacancies to the JobSearch dashboard and look for potential employees. On the other hand, jobseekers can look for jobs through the map on the homepage by selecting their state, local area, and job category. Included within the job category tab is information on transitioning to work, self employment opportunities as well as work experience programs.

SEEK

This is one of the most active employment and recruitment sites where you can specify location, area and job classification that makes searching and applying for a job easier. It includes SEEK Volunteer (brings together volunteers and non-profit organisations free of charge) and SEEK Learning (helps job seekers by offering occupational education by partnering with well-known training providers, for instance, major universities and TAFE institutions). 

Ticket to Work

Ticket to Work creates employment opportunities for the youth with disability all over Australia. They assist students in the transition between school and employment where students learn skills and gain experience in the workforce. They offer Australian school-based apprenticeships or traineeships.

The Australian Network on Disability (AND)

This is an organisation that connects employers with jobseekers with disability. However, it is not a hiring agency; it provides training, publications, internship programs and consultancy services.

The Bottom Line

Sustainable and fulfilling employment has the potential to transform the life of an individual including: financial independence, better standard of living, and expanding social networks and it also increase the diversity in the workplace.  

Nonetheless, achieving diversity in workplaces is a continuous conscious process and employers need to take the necessary steps to ensure equal job opportunities irrespective of an applicant’s health condition or disability.

Ensuring active participation of persons with disability in the workforce will not only bring forth, social and economic growth but will also improve the living standards of many people. If you are seeking employment and you are facing some difficulties due to your disability, then the services and resources mentioned above can be of great benefit to you.

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