[Sub ID 4745] Work experience and support for students with a disability

Submission ID: 4745
Contact name: Mrs Pam Anderson
State: VIC
Contact email: pam.anderson@skillsplus.com.au
Contact number: 0418108555

About the submitter:

National Disability Coordination Officer, Region 16 Western Victoria.

Which priority group of the Try, Test and Learn Fund does your idea support?
Young students at risk of long-term unemployment

What need or issue are you trying to address?
Students with disabilities face significant barriers to transitioning from tertiary education to work. People with disabilities and mental health needs aged between 15 and 64 years have both lower participation (53%) and higher unemployment rates (9.4%) than people without disability (83% and 4.9% respectively). People with disability are underrepresented in the VET and high education sector (approximately 6% compared to making up 18% of the population). What is more concerning is that the labour market participation statistics for graduates with disabilities are so different from those evident with those without disability” (Brett, 2016).

Deloittes (2011) reported that “young Australians with disability are particularly at risk of being caught in a welfare dependency trap. It’s crucial that they receive the support required to participate in the workforce as early as possible to drive effective long-term employment outcomes and maximise the benefits of improved standards of living and social inclusion that come with employment.” Feedback from students, parents and teachers frequently indicates fragmentation in transitions processes for young people with disabilities. Those students who do participate in work experience at school are not often able to continue or build upon this as they move onto tertiary education and beyond.

What is your idea?
It has been found that post-secondary Education and Training that involves practical workplace experience, or participating in part time work while studying, increases the likelihood of employment post study. Most people with disabilities who are currently employed had their first job before turning 21, suggesting a strong correlation between work experience whilst at school, TAFE or university, and success in securing longer term employment. Work experience and part time work opportunities open to other young people play a major role in connecting them with the world of work. These opportunities are not always accessible to young people with disability.

The National Ticket to Work Network has submitted a proposal to support secondary school students to secure work related skills, experience, and importantly, confidence (via work experience, placements and part time jobs). This proposal compliments theirs, by focussing on providing that support to students in full time tertiary education. This proposal seeks to provide a pathway, or a consistent approach to building upon the employment skills of students with disabilities; from school, into tertiary education, and ultimately as they transition into their first substantive job. The initiative will provide dedicated capacity to work with tertiary students with disability to secure work placements and part time jobs in real work environments. The program will build upon the skills and experience they have developed in secondary school (hence the link to the Ticket to Work bid).