Open vs supported employment: what you need to know
How the NDIS can help you get into the workforce
Getting a job can be an important way to improve your quality of life. The main purpose of having a job is to earn money to help you live, however there are plenty of other benefits too. Working gives you a sense of purpose and a chance to learn new skills. It’s also a place where you can talk to people every day and form relationships with your colleagues.
If you have a disability, you may have heard of the different employment types – open employment and supported employment. Here we talk about what the differences are and how the NDIS can help you get into the workforce.
As the name suggests, open employment is open to all. It’s a workplace where people with a disability work with people without a disability. The advantage of open employment is that they will pay you at least the minimum wage, which is higher than the supported employment wage.
Even with open employment, you can receive NDIS support. For example, you may have Capacity Building supports in your NDIS budget to help you get ready for work. This could include communication supports, learning to work in a team and even helping you decide what kind of job you want.
You may also get funding for assistive technology related to your needs at work, such as a wheelchair. Or you might get personal care supports at work, such as someone to help you go to the toilet.
Your employer also has a responsibility to make reasonable adjustments to their workplace to cater for people with disabilities. This means they must make workplace modifications and provide workplace equipment that help you do your job. They may receive additional funding from the Employment Assistance Fund.
Another option for employment is disability supported employment. This is employment that is designed for people with a disability. It’s usually a job in an Australian Disability Enterprise (ADE).
A disability enterprise is usually a not-for-profit organisation. They can provide employment in a range of areas, such as:
- Food services
- Laundry services
- Cleaning services
The advantage of working for a supported employment like ADE is that you often get support workers on site who can help you with your job and with any personal care you might need. However, the disadvantage is you won’t earn as much as in open employment. The Supported Employment Services Award is lower than the minimum wage.
How can you get help to find open or supported employment?
If you’re interested in working, it’s time to talk to your Local Area Coordinator, NDIA Planner or Support Coordinator about adding this goal to your NDIS plan. They will talk to you about your employment goals, including any barriers you might have to getting work and what skills you might need.
There are a few other funding and support services that can help you.
NDIS employment support
There are many ways NDIS funding can support your employment goals. You might get community participation supports which will help you build skills on the road to getting a job.
You can also use Capacity Building Supports to help you achieve a goal, such as getting job-ready or finding work. These funds are in the ‘Finding and Keeping a Job Budget’.
You can also get ongoing support while you have a job to help you complete your tasks. This is part of your Core budget and can be used in any workplace you choose, including government and non-government organisations, an ADE, social enterprises, micro-businesses, or in self-employment or a family run business. Read more about how the NDIS can help you get a job in their Let’s talk about work booklet.
School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES)
SLES is a NDIS support for people leaving secondary school. It’s for students who aren’t ready to get a job right away or students who still need to decide what job might be right for them.
A SLES will help you increase your ability and confidence to find a job. You can find an SLES provider through the NDIS website.
Disability employment service (DES)
Disability Employment Service (DES) is the Australian Government’s employment service that helps people with a disability find open employment. DES can provide help including career advice, employment preparation, resume development and training and ongoing support at work if required. To be eligible for a DES, you need to be available to work at least eight hours a week within the next two years. DES isn’t funded by the NDIS but it’s added to your plan under the ‘My services and community involvement’ section.
If you’re interested in working and wondering how the NDIS can help, get in touch with us at Five Good Friends. Our NDIS Support Coordinators can work with you to make sure you get the most out of your NDIS plan. Get in touch with our friendly staff who can chat through your options.
Learn more: Do I need a Support Coordinator?