Finding the right job can be exhausting.
Fortunately, there are many services and supports available in Australia for people with disability, injury or mental illness to help them find meaningful employment.
While having much choice can be great, it can also be extremely confusing – especially when eligibility requirements need to be considered.
What are the main disability employment supports, how are they accessed and which one is right for you? Read on below to understand.
Disability Employment Services
Disability Employment Services (DES) help people with disability to find and keep a suitable job. This service is available to job seekers of any legal working age, and can include a range of pre-employment and post-employment supports, such as:
- recruitment advice and job-matching services;
- help finding a job that meets your goals and capabilities;
- on-the-job support to ensure you settle into your new job comfortably; and,
- training, information and awareness activities for both you and your new employer.
To access DES, you must prove you have an existing disability, injury or illness that affects your ability to find or keep a job. To verify this, we recommend your doctor, specialist or healthcare professional write a letter detailing your barriers and how your daily life is affected.
You then need to book an appointment with your local Centrelink branch and complete an Employment Services Assessment (ESAt). This will determine your level of funding and assistance.
After your ESAt has been completed and you have been granted access to DES, you must choose a provider, which we previously covered.
School Leaver Employment Supports
Unlike DES, School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES) are designed specifically to assist Year 12 school leavers. These services help participants manage the transition from high school to part-time or full-time work, helping to build confidence and independence.
Access to this service is only provided as part of an NDIS plan. To gain funding for SLES, you have to both demonstrate your eligibility for the NDIS and affirm that a future goal is to find and keep a suitable job post-graduation.
SLES participants are eligible to receive employment support for a maximum of two years. Supports are based around activities that focus on improving employment opportunities and work-readiness, and may include:
- assistance applying for jobs;
- help negotiating work experience opportunities;
- help finding and completing training or education for desired field of work; and,
- key skills development, such as:
- time management
- travelling independently
- handling and counting money
- understanding workplace expectations
- taking instructions in a work environment.
After two years of support, most participants generally transition to a DES provider. Alternatively, some will receive additional funding in their NDIS plan for Finding and Keeping a Job (FAKAJ) supports.
Finding and Keeping a Job
Similar to SLES, FAKAJ is a plan-specific funding item given to eligible NDIS participants who are generally not of school age and are interested in entering the workforce. FAKAJ participants can receive help from trained employment consultants and support workers to strengthen their skills and learn new abilities.
Under FAKAJ, you will receive many of the same supports as SLES and DES, including:
- Interview & Resume Preparation;
- Work Experience;
- Training & Education;
- Time Management;
- Travel Assistance; and,
Additionally, FAKAJ may also provide a support worker to help you complete an industry qualification, such as:
- White Card;
- Responsible Services of Alcohol (RSA); and,
- Responsible Service of Gambling (RSG).
Depending on your level of funding and employment goals, you may also work alongside a support worker on the job to help you work safely and efficiently.
How breakthru can help
With over 25 years of experience helping people with disability, breakthru can empower you through your job seeking journey. As a holistic provider of disability employment supports, our DES, SLES and FAKAJ services can support you to achieve your goals and lead your best life. To receive help finding a job that fits you, simply contact one of our friendly staff today.
After growing up with his younger sister Katey (who was born with Down Syndrome), Josh has witnessed first hand the barriers and misconceptions placed around people with disability. As part of the breakthru team, Josh hopes to assist people just like Katey to find the information or supports they need to live their best life.