The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was established by the Commonwealth Government and is run by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to assist people with disabilities in gaining independence in their lives and achieving their goals.
The NDIS believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential and launched the scheme to help those living with disabilities to find employment or progress their careers.
Participants in the National Disability Insurance Scheme have the opportunity to create an individual NDIS plan that lists the goals they want to achieve. For those who would like to set work goals, the NDIS can help participants to understand the types of supports it can provide and assist them in training and employment.
How can the NDIS assist in finding employment?
The NDIS is committed to helping Australians living with significant disabilities to achieve their maximum employment potential and has already supported 460,000 participants in the scheme.
There are lots of ways the NDIS can assist participants in achieving their employment goals, even if participants are only available for several hours every week. Some of the employment options include NDIS funding such as School Leaver Employment Supports and supported work in Australian Disability Enterprises.
The NDIS can assist by providing information on services that are already available in your community and connecting participants with a suitable Disability Employment Services (DES) Provider in their local area.
What is a Disability Employment Services (DES) provider?
Disability Employment Services (DES) providers assist people with disabilities to become ‘job ready’ and to advance their prospective employment opportunities.
Participants seeking employment will be connected with a DES provider to help prepare gain work experience along with resume preparation, interview skills guidance, and confidence building. DES providers will offer continued support once in the workplace for as long as it is required.
All DES providers are contracted by the Federal Government of Australia and can connect NDIS participants with potential employers and give guidance on disability awareness in the workplace, flexible workplace arrangements, and disability legislation.
Australian Disability Enterprises
Australian Disability Enterprises, also known as ADEs, are non-profit organisations and are one of the employment supports available for people with moderate to high support needs. Currently, there are around 20,000 ADEs providing supported employment assistance to people with disabilities in Australia.
NDIS participants who are in need of supported employment may be eligible for an ADE to be able to fully participate in work. Supported employment helps participants gain work experience so they can progress into less supported employment opportunities to further their career prospects.
ADEs can provide on-going employment or act as a stepping stone to enable participants to gain the skills and confidence they need to try other areas of employment. The enterprises involved offer a range of occupations and training opportunities across a wide variety of industries.
Some NDIS participants may not be eligible for DES and may require a different type of support, depending on individual needs.
Participants should speak with their LAC or NDIS planner about their employment goals so that specific supports can be assigned to helping the progression to employment.
School leavers may be eligible for School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES) which can be used to build skills and confidence in areas that lead to being a suitable candidate for work. SLES may be funded in an NDIS plan for up to two years.
How do I gain employment?
Each NDIS participant is provided with an individual plan that lists the goals they want to achieve and the supports the NDIS can fund to help accomplish them. As part of the scheme, participants may wish to seek work opportunities.
NDIS participants hoping to gain employment will need to attend a planning meeting or plan review meeting to discuss their career interests, employment goals, and the types of support which are needed.
During the meeting, participants will have an informal chat about the number of days per week they would like to work or volunteer, which careers they feel they would be best suited to, and if they require a support worker to accompany them.
Participants should bring any documents related to seeking employment such as school reports or work assessments to help the LAC or NDIA Planner understand their work capacity and skills.
Getting ready for employment
Gaining employment can feel daunting but an LAC or NDIA planner can assist participants in understanding if they are ready to start work and explaining what an employer might expect of them.
During a planning meeting with an LAC or NDIA planner, participants will have the opportunity to discuss new or existing employment goals and raise concerns about any barriers that may stand in the way of gaining successful employment.
NDIS participants have the flexibility and control over where they work to ensure they can successfully achieve their outlined goals.