Our goal is to organise with people with intellectual disability, their families, and supporting organisations to make the promise of inclusion in the workforce a reality.

We know people with intellectual disability, want to work, and can work when they get the right support.

We know that employers will hire people with intellectual disability when this meets the mutual needs of the business and the jobseeker.

Yet only 11% of people with intellectual disability aged 15 and over, receiving national disability services, work in the open workforce. 

This is unacceptable and reflects an ineffective national disability employment service system. It’s time to change to a system of employment support that works.

There are two major barriers that need to be addressed.

1. The low expectations of people with intellectual disability to work in the open workforce.

2. A lack of skilled transition-to-work and open employment support across Australia.

An increase in employment outcomes will be achieved if individuals and families can choose support based on best practice for people with intellectual disability.

A new employment support system should;

— Build on what is currently achieving good employment outcomes for people with intellectual disability;
— Provide individuals, families, and employers with genuine choice informed by published provider outcomes by disability; and,
— Not harm services performing well in the current employment support system.

The expected ‘dovetailing’ of Disability Employment Services with the National Disability Insurance Scheme provides an historic opportunity to achieve substantial savings while delivering improved employment outcomes. Best practice transition-to-work and open employment support can provide significant savings as alternative programs for people with intellectual disability are more expensive.

A new pathway of employment support should;

1. Presume that people with intellectual disability have the capacity to work in the open workforce when provided with the right support.

2. Provide;

— Transition-to-work support for school leavers with intellectual disability based on what works as part of the NDIS; which works seamlessly with,

— Open employment support based on what works as part of DES for NDIS clients with intellectual disability.

These support elements, if based on what works, can provide the right support for more people with intellectual disability to choose work and successfully participate in the open workforce.