Sue Diggins

Carer/family of a person with disability

People with disabilities need to have more opportunities to find meaningful and reasonably paid work with less bureaucratic processes limiting opportunities.
Our son has Autism and ID and wants to work. He is quite capable of performing some tasks but will require a significant amount of support for an extended period to learn the skills for a particular job.
Most school aged students will have a part time job. I don’t know any young people with disabilities at school who have part time jobs. The eligibility for a DES does not allow young people with disabilities to access them. This is ridiculous- a part time job while at school/ TAFE/ Uni provides valuable experience for a young person for when they apply for a “real” job. Young people with disabilities too often have no quality experience on their resumes when they apply for a job. Young people with disabilities should be supported to find/ be trained for/ and supported in part time work while they are studying. This is more important for people with disabilities that regular kids. Having part time work while studying is a good predictor of being employed as an adult. Why are our young people not being supported to access part time work.
My son would benefit from having a suitable job carved out for him. He will need specific training in that particular job over time to learn the skills required. He is capable of doing this. However current Transition To Employment programs are not specific enough for my son. He needs individualised support and this is currently not available. A TTE or a DES are not able to provide enough support for my son to get and maintain a job. Perhaps the NDIS will assist with support, although looking at the Price Guide- my son will receive less support through NDIS than he could currently potentially receive through FFYA.
We need to expect that these young people will work and aim for that, rather than putting blocks in the way. We need flexible, innovative and individualised services to find work, provide specific training for specific jobs and longer term support which could then reduce over time. The investment needs to be made upfront to recoup the benefits down the track.
My son wants to work. He regularly expresses this. He sees his Dad and Mum go to work. His younger brother will go to work when he has finished studying, that’s a given. Why is it not a given that my son with a disability will go to work for a real wage? He will need support to do this but it is his right to have a goal to work.
Please fix the system so that my son can be properly supported to achieve his goal of work.
This needs to start at school age with support to access part time work. It’s ridiculous that a person with a disability can’t access a DES if they are studying full time. Also that they need to work more than 8 hours a week to access a DES. My son wants a part time job while he is studying of 4-6 hours a week, the same as his brother but there is no way he can access support for this. He can’t access an organisation or funding to support this goal. As an adult it will be very hard for him to get a goal with no previous work experience when others applying for jobs have had part time jobs.
There is good evidence of the benefits of employing people with disabilities (in our case ID) and the DES should be selling the skills of our young people rather than offering a charity model of what employers will receive if they employ a person with a disability. It sets the wrong tone from the start. We need to embrace the potential of our young people and promote this.