Supported employment should be there for those that need it. If a person can work with little or no supervision outside of a normal workplace, shouldn’t they be given the chance to work in open employment. As an example, there are many organisations that do mowing. If they have an employee that they can send or leave in an area unsupervised for a length of time, this person should be looked at for open employment.
I think people in supported employment that have been in open employment or who have been a ‘1’ on the DMI for more than 12 months could be assessed to go into open employment. My fear is that these people could be exploited in supported employment. They are seen to be working like a person in open employment but not being paid the same rate for doing the same job.
Disability enterprises need to be seen as operating in a similar way to other organisations in order for people with disabilities to be able to move into open employment. At the moment many of these enterprises are seen as a social activity for the people employed by them or are just charities.
How can ADEs operate as viable businesses? ADEs could perform contract work for other not for profit enterprises in the local area. One ADE could for example performing mowing work for another ADE that doesn’t have a mowing crew. Pay rates between ADEs needs to be looked at. If one ADE has a higher award than another, a good worker from a lower paying ADE could move to the higher paying ADE, possibly at the detriment of the lower paying ADE. Which comes to the question, how many ADEs doing the same thing can an area support. ADEs need to develop a business plan where they can support their own workers. Perhaps it will be easier for people with disabilities to get jobs when ADEs are seen as capable of producing job ready people.