Finding a great disability employment service

Finding a great disability employment service

Finding a great disability employment service

A disability employment service is there to help you get a job. But are you happy with just any old job? Do you want a job doing something you like? Do you want to work somewhere that you feel valued? Do you want to work as many hours as you are able to?

Different employment services take different approaches to supporting people with a disability. Some will find you a job – any job – as quickly as possible, even if it’s not the right sort of job for you. 

Others will work with you to find out your interests and skills. They will look for jobs that match your needs and the hours you want to work. We know that you are much more likely to find a job that’s right for you with this second approach. And you’re more likely to stay in the job.

So how can you tell which employment service to sign up with?

NOVA Employment CEO Martin Wren recommends that you ask the staff member at the employment service some questions about their approach. In Martin's Job seekers’ guide to finding a great disability employment service, he suggests asking the following questions (or, if you don't feel comfortable, getting someone to ask them for you):

Question 1: Who do you find jobs for? 

Look for a service that:

Will they let you speak with people they have helped who have needs like yours?

Question 2: How do you assess me?

Look for a service that:

Ideally, you want someone who will chat with you about your interests, skills and experience rather than using a formal assessment. If the service does use formal assessments, asset-based assessments (showing what you can do) are better than deficit-based assessments (which show what you can’t do).

Question 3: Will I get consistent service?

Look for a service where the same person will support you throughout your job-seeking process.

Question 4: How many other clients will my caseworker have?

Look for a service where staff have fewer clients*. A staff member who has:

  • up to 20 clients can give you the attention you need to find the right job for you
  • 50 or more clients won’t be able to give you the individual attention you need.

* Find out the total number of clients, including people who have started work and those not officially ‘job-seeking’ right now. 

Question 5: Can you describe your staff-training program?

Look for a service that supports its staff with regular training. Without this, staff:

  • may not be able to give good service to people with a disability
  • are less likely to stay very long. 

Question 6: Will you aim high on my behalf?

Look for a service that aims to place clients into jobs with at least 15 hours per week (or full-time, if appropriate).

Question 7: Do you need subsidies to get people jobs? 

Look for a service that:

Question 8: How do you support me to stay in the program?

Look for a service that will:

Question 9: Where do you look for jobs on my behalf? 

Look for a service that:

Question 10: Do you help me find support in the community?

Look for a service that will help you to have a balanced life. This might include support to:

Question 11: How much post-placement support do you provide?

Look for a service that continues to provide support:

The job seeker's guide includes a scoring system to rank an employment service on each question. It helps you decide whether that service is likely to provide you with good support to get a job in the open market. This article summarises what to look for. The job seeker's guide is contained in The ten demandments by Martin Wren, which is available through Employment First.  

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