I want to start by explaining that I will not be answering your questions you have asked others to answer.
Simply put, as much as I like your easy read version, I personally still struggled to answer all the questions without feeling like it was redundant.
This is because I have issues expressing myself and I tend to trail off.
So rather than me answer the questions how you have provided, I will answer them how I have interpreted them.
My experience with a job agency years ago was poor. They force you to do things that someone like myself is not prepared to do.
You see, with autism, it’s not as simple as saying, “Okay, I found you a job at Hungry Jacks, and you have an interview at 3:30pm. Here’s the bus timetable so you can leave now and get the bus there.”
No no, see. I’ve already planned my day out in my head to avoid anxiety.
I felt as though I was treated as, “being in the system” and I actually wasn’t on Centrelink at this point. I have never had Centrelink; I’ve had to do things all without help from the government. Because I was not diagnosed then.
One of the questions you asked is how we get employers to understand disabilities better. The answer is: you won’t get organisations to understand. You can get people to understand.
It would be good to implement a program as part of “training” for companies to understand how the minds of people with various disabilities work. I’m not just speaking for autism; I’m speaking for even physical. Companies need to be more adaptive and understand that we have so much talent out there. I think implementing a program where a speaker speaks in front of the organisation and explains what say “autism” is makes people more aware. Because if people don’t know anything about a topic, how are they meant to understand a person? This even applies to having children. When a parent is told, “oh your child has ____” then straight away the parent wants to know more to help them. Otherwise, they’d not have any knowledge in the topic?
The next part I want to point out is the idea that you guys want people to “stay in their jobs”
And I get where you are coming from with this.
Again, that comes down to educating the employer, but also the DES Consultants (or whoever you go with for the program) must also understand a person on an emotional/behavioral level too.
It’s all good and well to know a person’s skill set, but you also need to know triggers, anxieties, a whooole bunch of emotional language going on for that person.
I believe that there needs to be more support work. Less KPIs in worrying about getting a person a job and getting them to keep it, but more understanding the person.
Which I know is easy for me to say, but trust me it works.
Why I believe the support worker approach would be better is because of my client.
A bit of background about my client.
He is 33, schizophrenic.
I’ve had this client for ~2 years.
I have helped him build his confidence in cooking, to the point where he goes to TAFE and studies Kitchen Operations.
Recently he expressed interest in wanting a job. He was quite excited by the idea of working.
In the past, he worked for Hungry Jacks in the city for 5 years (over 15 years ago…)
We sat down together and applied for jobs and each week I taught him a new way to apply.
The first week we looked at jobs. Had a look at the criteria and what to expect.
Second week, we made a resume to suit the jobs we were applying for.
What happened next was unexpected, but someone called him back for an interview!
I had not prepared him for this, but that was because I wanted to take it week by week and build his confidence up.
He did not hear back from this interview, but the point is that he still tried.
The next week was a little different.
My client and I always eat at this German Bakery every Wednesday.
The staff all know us, we have been going there for ~2 years.
I spoke to one of the staff members there just asked if they perhaps ever needed help in the kitchen.
This staff member spoke to us for 10 minutes and highly recommended we talk to the chef that worked there, to see if he needed help.
We did just that, and I got my client to ask if there was anything going.
The chef was nice enough to inform us that right now (as of the 23rd December 2021) it would be a bit too complicated to hire at this time of the year, but encouraged us to come back mid January and he will see what he can do for us.
Next week I will be going with my client to follow this up and hopefully they have some work for him.
The benefits of a Support Worker as well are the fact that we know our clients. We know how they behave and they’ve allowed us to personally connect with them on a level that maybe others do not get.
Again, I don’t know how to explain things well and I can’t really answer the questions you have asked, but the whole point of this email was to understand that its not so conventional. You can have assessments, procedures, all of this, but at the same time people don’t understand what they’re expected to do, or how to behave to have a job.
This email was not written to offend anyone, and apologises if this came off the case. I hope you take the time to read the email and hopefully understand where I am coming from (because I’m not sure if I have explained this right).