Skip to main content

National Inquiry on Employment and Disability Interim Report: chapter 4

  • Back to contents
  • National Inquiry on Employment and Disability
    Interim Report:

    4.
    Getting ready for the open workplace

    4.1
    Introduction

    4.2
    How does school assist in the transition to work?

    4.2.1
    Secondary school education

    4.2.2
    Vocational education and training in schools

    4.2.3
    School-based New Apprenticeships (SNAP)

    4.2.4
    Assistance in the transition from school to work

    4.3
    How does vocational education and training assist in the transition
    to work?

    4.3.1
    Structure of VET delivery

    4.3.2
    VET Strategy for people with disability

    4.3.3
    Under-representation of people with disability in VET

    4.3.4
    Inappropriate streaming of disability students in VET

    4.3.5
    Inadequate VET places with appropriate supports

    (a)
    VET for people with intellectual disability

    (b)
    VET for people with mental illness

    4.3.6
    Poor transition to work outcomes

    4.3.7
    Apprenticeships and traineeships

    (a)
    New Apprenticeship Access Program (NAAP)

    (b)
    Disabled New Apprenticeship Wage Support (DNAWS)

    4.4
    How does university assist in the transition to work?

    4.5
    What work experience is available to people with disability?

    4.6
    What are some of the social issues that impact on the transition
    to work?

    4.7
    What attendant care is provided to assist transition to work?

    4.8
    Conclusion. 80

    4.1 
    Introduction

    No person can achieve a smooth transition and successful entry into
    the open workforce unless they are 'job ready', and this is especially
    the case for people with disability.

    The process of becoming job ready involves access to appropriate education
    and vocational training at all levels including:

    1.  School
    education

    2.  Vocational
    education and training (VET) including apprenticeships and traineeships

    3.  University
    education

    4.  Work
    experience opportunities

    Submissions to the Inquiry indicate that many people with disability
    experience difficulties in all these areas.

    The submissions also suggest that some people with disability face
    additional difficulties in developing appropriate social and life skills
    to deal with the open workplace and the demands that come with it.

    4.2 
    How does school assist in the transition to work?

    4.2.1 
    Secondary school education

    Everyone needs access to appropriate education to prepare themselves
    for the open workplace. People with disability, however, may face extra
    hurdles in completing their education to a level that makes them competitive.[1]

    Submissions suggest that children with disability in school may not
    be receiving the supports they need to meet their learning outcomes.
    Some note that special effort is needed to assist more children with
    disability complete secondary school.[2]
    This is reflected in school completion rates:

    Only 30 per cent of people with disabilities have completed Year
    12, compared with 49 per cent of people without disabilities.[3]

    Specific educational barriers were identified for people with different
    disabilities. For example, the Inquiry heard that children with psychiatric
    disability may not be receiving sufficient educational assistance:

    The onset of mental illness can truncate primary, secondary or tertiary
    educational attainment and vocational training, and disrupt normal
    career development. For psychotic disorders, this may occur because
    the typical onset age is from 10-30 years, which may coincide with
    the critical career stages of completing formal education and establishing
    a career pathway.[4]

    In another example, the Inquiry heard that children and youth with
    autism or Asperger's Syndrome often do not receive education (and health)
    services that adequately prepare them for employment. The result is
    that they are more likely to go onto the DSP when they turn 16 than
    into employment.[5]

    The Inquiry also heard that students with disability may not receive
    sufficient assistance in making decisions about career development nor
    sufficient instruction about how to look and apply for jobs.[6]
    For example, the Australian Association of the Deaf notes the need for
    better familiarisation and training about the 'world of work':

    Deaf school leavers need to be
    given training in how to look for work, how to apply for jobs, interview
    techniques etc. Who should provide this? Schools? Centrelink? Job
    Network?[7]

    4.2.2 
    Vocational education and training in schools

    In principle, some vocational and educational training can be accessed
    while still in school (the VET in Schools program). However the Inquiry
    heard that students with disability were experiencing difficulty in
    obtaining places in such courses.

    A submission from Parents and Professional Advocates ACT suggested
    that many school students with disability are missing out on the opportunity
    to undertake VET courses as many schools are not familiar with the processes
    involved. Further, there is often no structural link between the VET
    in Schools program and the special education unit of a school.[8]
    As a result these students miss out on the opportunity to gain lower
    level certificates or embark on pathways to other tertiary VET courses:

    Some students are not ready for this kind of study while they are
    at school and system issues exist including no structural link between
    VET in schools programs and Special Education. Therefore, Registered
    training Organisations should offer alternate pathways for PWD who
    did not have the option of undertaking VET studies in the school.
    This idea is in conflict with the demands from industry, where it
    seems that lower level certificate qualifications are not in demand
    and therefore not offered by many Registered Training Organisations
    (RTO).[9]

    4.2.3 
    School-based New Apprenticeships (SNAP)

    Many schools now offer students the opportunity start a New Apprenticeship
    while still at school as part of the vocational education and training
    options available. This type of apprenticeship is known as School-based
    New Apprenticeships (SNAP).[10]

    As apprenticeships might not be completed prior to finishing school,
    concerns were raised for students with disability enrolled in such programs:

    This new area of VET becomes complicated when it is not clear to
    the parties involved who [is] responsible for the disabled student's
    additional support needs. The issue of fragmentation of funding arises
    again when the student moves from the infrastructure of school to
    the RTO, to the workplace.[11]

    TAFE NSW describes one apparently successful model aimed at improving
    access to apprenticeships and traineeships for students leaving Year
    12 who have undertaken VET courses while at school:

    A pilot with the [Department of Education and Training] New Apprenticeship
    Centre (DETNAC) is successfully linking students from year 12 (2004)
    undertaking HSC VET with an apprenticeship or traineeship.[12]

    The unique feature of this model is the brokerage service coordinated
    by the Department of Education and Training New Apprenticeship Centres
    (DETNAC):

    A pilot brokerage service, managed by NSW Department of Education
    and Training New Apprenticeships Centres, is linking up to 40 HSC
    VET in Schools students with a disability with an employer and appropriate
    support services. The second part of the project is documentation
    of the current employment and training support service provision for
    people with a disability and strategies to improve employment outcomes.[13]

    The outcomes of the pilot project are currently being analysed and
    a report is being prepared.

    4.2.4 
    Assistance in the transition from school to work

    A large number of submissions to the Inquiry commented on the importance
    of ensuring adequate assistance for people with disability to make the
    transition from school to employment.

    A number of existing initiatives were reported to the Inquiry. For
    example:

    • The Western Australian
      Disability Services Commission is currently conducting a two-year
      pilot of a school-to-work transition program for young people with
      disabilities who may require additional development opportunities
      prior to entering the workforce. Individuals will receive an increased
      level of funding for up to 12 months. The funding is to be directed
      to qualified services that have the expertise to work with people
      with high support needs in the employment arena.[14]
    • The NSW Department of Education and the Catholic Education Office
      fund a role for teachers who assist students with disabilities through
      the transition to the workforce. This is achieved through providing
      students vocational guidance and the opportunity to participate in
      work experience placements with both government and private sector
      employees.[15]
    • The NSW Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care operates
      a Transition to Work program which assists school leavers into employment,
      employment programs or enrolment in vocational education and training
      within one to two years of completing secondary education.[16]

    Nevertheless, some submissions suggest that there are insufficient
    programs to support transition opportunities for people with disability.
    The submissions indicate that this is largely a consequence of poor
    school/post school employment service links and poor coordination between
    Commonwealth and State services:

    Structural linkages need to be created between post-secondary and
    tertiary education or Commonwealth employment programs and other supports
    for people with disability, particularly with respect to Commonwealth
    and State joint planning responsibilities under the Commonwealth State
    and Territory Disability Agreement.[17]

    The Brotherhood of St Laurence told the Inquiry that:

    There are poor school/post-school employment service links. Presently
    there are inadequate links between specialist disability employment
    services and students in special schools, mainstream integration programs
    at secondary colleges and TAFE vocational courses such that many students
    are ill-prepared for the school-to-work transition once their courses
    of study are over.[18]

    Similarly the New South Wales Council for Intellectual Disability (NSW
    CID) noted the following problems with the Transition to Work program
    in New South Wales:

    Many people with intellectual disability on DSP coming out of school
    will be put into State post school programs, in NSW known as Transition
    To Work (TTW) programs, with a smaller number with very high support
    needs placed in Community Participation programs. TTW is supposed
    to focus on getting the individual ready for work, yet no practical
    on the job training or even one-off TAFE courses can be accessed with
    TTF funding. With no practical component or development it seems almost
    impossible for people in TTW to get to a point where they are assessed
    as able to move to employment services and access open employment.[19]

    The need for a focus on the transition phase is acknowledged by the
    Australian Disability Training Advisory Council (ADTAC), which has the
    following as one of its five priority areas:

    Improving employment outcomes

    The VET system's goal is to help people with a disability gain meaningful
    jobs, so we need to keep working on initiatives that build school-to-work
    transitions and motivate businesses to employ people with a disability.[20]

    The Disability Services Commission of WA also argues that there should
    be greater transitional services for school leavers with disability.[21]
    Furthermore, the Disability Employment Action Centre (DEAC) suggest
    that:

    New initiatives should focus on school to work transition programs
    these could include a Training Supplement to boost young people with
    a disability into employment.[22]

    DEAC goes on to recommend that:

    The Commonwealth fund new School to work Transition programs particularly
    for young people exiting the special school system.[23]

    The House of Representatives Standing Committee inquiring into increased
    participation in paid employment in Australia - the Working for Australia
    Report
    - made the following recommendation:

    That Commonwealth, State and Territory agencies improve the transition
    assistance available from education to work or to further training
    through more coordinated work placement support and the links between
    workplace coordinators and disability employment services.[24]

    The abrupt discontinuation of supports as people with disability leave
    school and enter post-school education and training was also raised
    as an area of concern.

    For example, school students may get assistance in the form of transport,
    teacher aides, special education units, personal care and behaviour
    management supports. While a person with disability is still at school,
    many of these supports are centrally coordinated and responsibility
    for the administration of these services is borne by the school.

    After leaving school, there appears to be no transition period where
    new supports or alternative arrangements are phased in. Instead, many
    of these services operate in isolation and resources are insufficient,
    leaving many people with disability limited or no support, and out-of-pocket
    expenses. For example, at school all transport is guaranteed and the
    costs are covered. Once a person leaves school a person is faced with
    the difficulties associated with inaccessible public transport and taxis
    and negotiating the combination of the Mobility Allowance, transport
    concessions and taxi subsidies.

    Parents and Professional Advocates ACT suggest that removing these
    types of support 'impacts on a student's ability to participate and
    succeed in further education and training'.[25]

    The South Australian Government suggested that the allocation of an
    individual case-manager could help ensure a more successful transition
    from school to work:

    Individual case management ensures that people with a disability
    are appropriately supported at critical transition points, and are
    matched with appropriate employers. Case management is considered
    to be an effective career and transition strategy.[26]

    4.3 
    How does vocational education and training assist in the transition
    to work?

    The Inquiry received numerous submissions indicating that vocational
    education and training (VET) is an important pathway to employment.
    However submissions also identify several factors that impede access
    to and successful completion of VET qualifications, apprenticeships
    and traineeships.

    As the VET system covers a wide array of qualifications, which can
    be obtained from many institutions, a brief description follows of some
    of the more important aspects of the system.

    4.3.1 
    Structure of VET delivery

    Across Australia, VET courses are delivered by Registered Training
    Organisations (RTOs) and can include TAFE institutions, adult community
    education colleges, private providers, group training companies, industry
    organisations and workplaces.

    To become an RTO, organisations need to comply with standards outlined
    by the Australian Quality Training Framework and register with the Office
    of Training and Training Education. RTOs are recognised as providers
    of 'quality assured and nationally recognised training and qualifications'.[27]
    Some VET courses can be accessed while students are still attending
    high school. These courses are either provided by the school in partnership
    with an RTO or the school can register to be an RTO and deliver the
    training package itself.[28]
    There are over 5000 RTOs in Australia.[29]

    4.3.2 
    VET Strategy for people with disability

    Bridging Pathways is the national VET blueprint to improve
    training and employment outcomes for people with disability.

    In 2000, the first version of the strategy was endorsed by all Australian
    and State/Territory ministers for VET and the Australian Disability
    Training Advisory Council (ADTAC) was set up to oversee its implementation.[30]
    A revised blueprint was endorsed in October 2004.[31]
    A major impetus for the revision of the blueprint was a realisation
    that while more people with disability were gaining qualifications through
    VET, this was not resulting in jobs.[32]

    The revised blueprint therefore sought to refocus efforts in five key
    ways:

    1.  Progressing
    a whole of life approach

    2.  Measuring
    what we are achieving

    3.  Delivering
    on the ground

    4.  Engaging
    key players

    5.  Improving
    employment outcomes.

    The first priority - progressing a whole of life approach to vocational
    education and training - was an acknowledgement that policies, programs
    and services need to be coordinated in order to achieve better outcomes
    for people with disability.[33]

    For example, the Physical Disability Council of Australia (PDCA) stated
    that inaccessible facilities and lack of transport act as barriers to
    employment and may also affect people with disability in seeking access
    to vocational education and training.[34]

    The launch of Shaping our Future: Australia's National Strategy
    for vocational education and training 2004-2010
    [35]
    is said to 'support and augment' the aims of Bridging Pathways.

    The Commonwealth Government increased its commitment to vocational
    education and training for people with disability in the 2005 May Budget:

    Funding of $43.3 million over four years from 2005-06 will be redirected
    from the Government's 2002-03 welfare reform package Recognising and
    Improving the Capacity of People with a Disability to provide an additional
    7,600 VET places for people with a disability . [36]

    Despite some gains made with the implementation of Bridging Pathways,
    the Inquiry also heard a range of concerns about VET options for people
    with disability.

    4.3.3 
    Under-representation of people with disability in VET

    A number of submissions suggested
    that people with disability continue to be underrepresented in VET programs.
    [37] The ACE National Network suggested this was
    a result of discriminatory attitudes, lack of clear government policies
    over time and inadequate funding.[38]

    ADTAC, the advisory body to the Australian National Training Authority
    (ANTA), similarly noted that while the number of trainees and apprentices
    grew in 2003 by 8 per cent, it fell by 5 per cent for VET students reporting
    disability.[39]

    The South Australian Government also recorded a small proportion of
    apprentices/trainees with disability (159 out of an approximate 32,000,
    which is roughly 0.5 per cent). They suggest this is also associated
    with the fear of disclosure of disability due to possible discrimination.[40]

    The Australian National Training Authority reported that 2.5 per cent
    of people with disability participated in vocational education and training,
    compared to 11 per cent of people without disability.[41]
    While the representation appears to have proportionally increased in
    recent years, ADTAC explained that in the five years to 2003, there
    was a 'superficially' impressive 71 per cent increase in the number
    of people reporting disability undertaking publicly-funded vocational
    education and training. They suggest that the statistic was affected
    by changes to data collection methods.[42]

    4.3.4 
    Inappropriate streaming of disability students in VET

    The Inquiry also heard that there are problems with the training offered
    within the TAFE system.

    DEAC expressed concern that students with disability within the TAFE
    system are often segregated into low grade courses such as Work Education
    or other generic and enabling courses, which leaves them with little
    prospect of securing work.[43]
    DEAC recommends that students with disability should instead be supported
    to access Certificate 1 and Certificate 2 courses.[44]

    The South Australian Government noted similar concerns:

    For example, in further education, students with a disability are
    often locked into generic and enabling courses, which do not tend
    to readily lead to employment opportunities. As a result, people
    with a disability tend to cluster in enabling courses often undertaking
    multiple enabling courses, rather than participating in Training Package
    qualifications. Poor course selection by students may lead to restricted
    employment outcomes and could contribute to negative employer attitudes
    to people with a disability.[45]

    4.3.5 Inadequate VET
    places with appropriate supports

    Submissions to the Inquiry suggest that VET options need to be more
    widely available to people with disability, and people with high support
    needs in particular. [46]

    For example, the Disability Discrimination Law Centre NSW (DDLC) noted
    anomalies in NSW after the introduction of the new Adult Training Learning
    And Support (ATLAS) reforms in February 2005. These anomalies arose
    due to differing funding levels and eligibility criteria.

    The Western Australian Disability Services Commission also recognised
    the need for continued support for vocational education and training
    courses for individuals who require additional development to achieve
    sustainable employment.[47]

    The Inquiry also heard concerns that programs which previously enabled
    people with disability to access training, for example Skillshare, were
    no longer operating due to funding cuts.
    [48]

    4.3.5(a) 
    VET for people with intellectual disability

    Particular issues were raised regarding access to VET for people with
    intellectual disability:

    Innovative new ways of thinking about employment need to be developed
    if successful employment of people with intellectual disability is
    to be achieved. For example, it has been found time and again that
    for people with intellectual disability skills are best learnt in
    the setting where they are to be used. Work preparation, as important
    as it is, will not in itself ensure successful long term employment
    for people with intellectual disability, whilst on going training
    and support in the work environment has proven to be successful.[49]

    Parents and Professional Advocates ACT believe that VET opportunities
    are underutilised for people with intellectual disability and expressed
    concern at the lack of diversity in course options for people with intellectual
    disability.[50]
    They suggest this is probably due to costs associated with the modification
    of training packages and teaching resources combined with funding uncertainty:

    Access modifications are costly to develop. Currently funding has
    to be applied for each year from special targeted equity funds, with
    no guarantee that even successful programs can be continued. This
    uncertainty is disheartening for those who deliver the programs and
    who would like to be more pro-active in their planning.[51]

    The New South Wales Council for Intellectual Disability (NSW CID) states
    that government initiatives that offer the opportunity of on-the-job-training
    are not available to people with intellectual disability.[52]
    NSW CID recommends devising new alternatives to allow people with intellectual
    disability access to on-the-job training opportunities which have the
    necessary supports and workplace adjustments. It suggests that this
    approach will ensure skill acquisition, a successful employment outcome
    and increase participation rates of people with intellectual disability
    in employment:

    [F]or people with intellectual disability learning skills outside
    of the environment in which they will be used will not be truly effective.
    A suggestion would be to use the Pre Vocational Participation money
    in part prior to employment, and in part once employment is gained
    within the work environment. Innovative uses for this money could
    include awareness training for co workers on the abilities of their
    colleague who has an intellectual disability or weekly assistance
    for the individual on budgeting and time management once a real income
    is being received and the demands of the job are more tangible.[53

    NSW CID also suggests the introduction of a 'specialised component
    for people with intellectual disability' to current programs in order
    to allow people with intellectual disability the opportunity to access
    vital funds, services and supports:

    Some of the current job training programs could be developed to include
    a specialized component for people with intellectual disability. For
    example, the New Apprentices Access Program or Targeted Initiatives
    Program could be developed for people with intellectual disability
    - giving them the opportunity to learn the skills they need for work
    in the work environment. Alternatively a specific Job Placement Employment
    Training (JPET) program could be developed for people with intellectual
    disability. Currently the JPET program is only available for people
    who are disadvantaged or disconnected between the ages of 15-21. The
    systems and structures for these programs already exist - the simple
    addition of some specialist Case Workers to work with people with
    intellectual disability and some subtle tailoring of the programs
    to meet their needs would not be of great cost to the Government and
    will end up saving the Government and the tax payer a lot of money
    in the long term.[54]

    4.3.5(b) 
    VET for people with mental illness

    The Inquiry heard that people with mental illness need more training
    opportunities both prior to and during employment. The need for long-term,
    rather than short-term, training programs was emphasised.[55]

    4.3.6 
    Poor transition to work outcomes

    On completion of training, only 50 per cent of VET graduates with disability
    find employment compared with over 74 per cent of VET graduates without
    disability.[56]
    TAFE NSW noted that even highly qualified graduates with disabilities
    experience difficulties in finding employment.[57]

    The South Australian Government suggested the following strategies
    to help students move from enabling courses to higher-level qualifications
    and participate in paid employment:

    • work placements or work experience as part of the enabling course;
    • linking training
      to employment opportunities; or
    • encouraging students to set up small cooperative business activities
      to create employment opportunities.[58]

    4.3.7
    Apprenticeships and traineeships

    Apprenticeship and traineeship programs can be important pathways to
    successful outcomes for people with disability.

    Some submissions indicate that apprenticeships and traineeships are
    underutilised for people with disability.[59]
    Several submissions comment that there should be further incentives
    for employers and young people with disability to participate in apprenticeship
    and traineeship schemes.[60]

    The South Australian Government said it was necessary to improve the
    levels of training and employment support in order to assist people
    with disability to commence and complete traineeships. [61]
    In particular, the types of employment support they identify as necessary
    include:

    • Provision of specialist staff to support these groups while they
      undertake traineeships and apprenticeships;
    • Resourcing and mentoring to support both employers and employees;
    • Education of employers to influence attitudes to the employment
      of people from disadvantaged or under-represented groups;
    • Training for supervisors of trainees and apprentices from disadvantaged
      groups to raise their awareness of their needs and issues;
    • Encourage more flexible work arrangements - e.g. later start times,
      variations to the minimum hours for part-time employment under contracts
      of training, variations to employer approval processes.[62]

    A number of submissions also commented on the adequacy of the New Apprenticeship
    Access Program (NAAP) and the Disabled New Apprentice Wage Support (DNAWS)
    schemes.

    4.3.7(a) 
    New Apprenticeship Access Program (NAAP)

    New Apprenticeship Access Program (NAAP) is a Commonwealth Government
    initiative to assist job seekers registered with Centrelink or a Job
    Network Member to develop their skills and improve their chances of
    getting a New Apprenticeship.[63]
    To a lesser extent, NAAP can also be used to obtain employment or further
    education and training.

    Incentives for employers include payment of $1,210 for taking on a
    New Apprentice. Other benefits include payroll tax rebates/exemptions
    and workers compensation premium exemptions, although these vary between
    State and Territories. NAAP apprentices/employees also receive on the
    job support during the first 13 weeks of their New Apprenticeship or
    employment.[64]

    Submissions note that the strengths of the NAAP are that it is comprehensive
    in scope, including both personal development skills and post-placement
    support. The scheme also recognises that job search activity may not
    be possible for some participants in the program. However, while including
    people with disability in the eligibility criteria, the scheme does
    not specifically target people with disability.[65]

    Several submissions noted that the capacity of the NAAP to meet the
    needs of people with disability would be enhanced if New Apprenticeship
    Centres were to employ qualified disability consultants.[66]
    The Brotherhood of St Laurence recommended the establishment of a 'Disability
    Access and Support program:

    ... to assist New Apprenticeship Centres or Group Training Companies
    who lack the expertise in assisting and supporting people with disabilities
    participating in VET through the New Apprenticeship scheme.[67]

    4.3.7(b) 
    Disabled New Apprenticeship Wage Support (DNAWS)

    The Disabled New Apprentice Wage Support (DNAWS) scheme provides financial
    assistance and supports to employers who hire a New Apprentice with
    disability, including:

    • a wage support payment amount of $114.73 per week or
      pro-rata for part-time New Apprentices
    • assistance for tutorial, interpreter and mentor services
      for disabled New Apprentices
    • assistance for leasing or purchasing essential equipment or modifying
      the workplace to accommodate a disabled New Apprentice.[68]

    The Brotherhood of St Laurence reports that one of the successes of
    Bridging Pathways was to open up funding under the DNAWS scheme
    to all trainees and not just traditional apprenticeships.[69]

    However, the Inquiry heard concerns that DNAWS is complex, time consuming
    and too expensive to administer. Furthermore, the funds available were
    described to be 'unrealistic to support apprentices with high support
    needs' or for apprentices who needed extended time to complete their
    qualification.[70]

    Parents and Professional Advocates also identified communication and
    time delay problems in identifying and providing the necessary supports
    for apprentices with disability:

    Often it is the case that the RTO is only made aware of the student's
    disability support needs when they begin to struggle with their training
    requirements during the apprenticeship period. At this stage an application
    for DNAWS support is made and the apprentice, employer, NAC and RTO
    have been told by DEST that applications for additional support must
    be made before or at the time the student commences formal training
    and their application is refused. Applications made more than 12 months
    after the apprentice starts are not recognised by DEST. So if supports
    are then arranged in the best interest of the apprentice the RTO bears
    that cost or has to apply to the State Training Authority for additional
    funding, causing confusion and discrepancy between State and Commonwealth
    funding.[71]

    Another criticism of DNAWS was that while employers are able to be
    reimbursed for equipment 'workplace modifications', they were not able
    to be reimbursed for professional advice, on an 'as needed basis', about
    how the workplace might be modified to help the new apprentice.[72]
    The availability of such support was seen as critical for employers
    of apprentices with intellectual disability.

    Parents and Professional Advocates ACT recommended that DNAWS (and
    School-Based New Apprenticeships) be reviewed 'to promote more opportunities
    for people with disability and funding allocated to be a more realistic
    reflection of the apprentice's needs'. [73]

    DNAWS is also discussed in Chapter 2.

    4.4
    How does university assist in the transition to work?

    According to the National Regional
    Disability Liaison Officers and Disability Co-Ordination Officers Network
    people with disability are still under-represented in higher education,
    even though the number of students with disability has increased by
    33 per cent over the past two years.[74] This
    could be due to a variety of factors including: lack of career guidance
    at school; lack of personal support to pursue such options; and lack
    of financial support to make tertiary education a viable option.

    The Inquiry heard that access to
    university education did not necessarily ensure 'job-readiness' or improve
    the chances of people with disability finding a job. The National Regional
    Disability Liaison Officers and Disability Co-Ordination Officers Network
    reported that graduates with disability, although qualified, continue
    to experience lower levels of employment than their non-disabled peers.[75] As a result, many people
    with disability with tertiary qualifications embark on a continuous
    cycle of continuing education in the hope that the additional qualification
    will eventually get them a job:

    I have completed my Master's degree in Journalism since my accident
    at UTS, and am now doing another Master's degree in International
    Law at Sydney University, as it is apparently easier for me to do
    a Masters degree than even find the most basic administrative job.
    People with disabilities in general, and brain injury in particular,
    are not considered to be equal citizens or should earn money. . I
    am rapidly getting older and am stuck in this totally unfair cycle.[76]

    One reason for the difficulty in transitioning from university to work,
    is that it is comparatively more difficult for people with disability
    to gain the necessary career-related work experience. In particular
    it is more difficult to gain access to internships, graduate schemes
    and mentoring programs while studying.[77]

    With regard to financial support, the Inquiry heard that students on
    the DSP who are enrolled a Masters or Doctorate degree (as opposed to
    undergraduate studies) cannot access the Pension Education Supplement.[78]

    4.5 
    What work experience is available to people with disability?

    Work experience is another important way to develop skills and improve
    the job readiness of people seeking employment.[79]
    Blind Citizens Australia states that work experience can greatly increase
    a person's likelihood of finding paid employment and highlights the
    following benefits:

    • Proof for employers that the potential worker is capable of managing
      a job within a 'real world' context
    • Mentoring and guidance in the work place
    • Networking opportunities with employers - it is estimated that as
      many as seven out of ten jobs are never publicly advertised
    • The acquisition
      of new skills and confidence
    • A reference or referee that will be willing to speak for the capacity
      and ability of the student to other employers.[80]

    However, submissions to the Inquiry suggest that people with disability,
    and young people with disability in particular, have difficulty in accessing
    work experience.[81]
    They also have greater difficulty in gaining part time or casual employment
    while at school and university.[82]

    For example, Blind Citizens Australia reported that:

    People who are blind are often excluded from these opportunities
    because work places either do not have the capacity to support them
    or are unwilling to create it. Young people who are blind are particularly
    disadvantaged in the labour market because traditional avenues of
    gaining work experience are not available to them, such as working
    for a grocery or retail store.[83]

    The Regional Disability Liaison Officers Network also described the
    difficulties cause by missing out on opportunities for work experience:

    People with disabilities are more likely to being seeking employment
    with lack of relevant knowledge and work skills as well as experience
    in their fields of interest. This is often due to the lack of access
    of choices in work experience, education and exposure to opportunities
    to further these important skills.[84]

    Blind Citizens Australia recommend the following course of action to
    address work experience difficulties:

    • That all Governments work with the education sector and employers
      to increase the availability of work experience opportunities for
      students with a disability. This could include funding and support
      for work experience programs specifically for these students.
    • That all Governments actively recruit people with disabilities into
      their training, vocation and work experience programs, become employers
      of choice for people with disabilities and set an example for the
      private sector.[85]

    The Queensland Department of Employment and Training also suggested
    that government agencies could be more proactive in offering work experience
    programs.[86]

    The South Australian Government indicated that one barrier that prevents
    many people with disability from accessing the opportunity to develop
    skills though work experience is that funding is not available for workplace
    modifications for work experience, work trials or student placements:

    Many people with a disability therefore do not have the same opportunities
    as others in the community to experience work prior to placement.
    This has a negative impact on people with a disability transitioning
    from learning to work.[87]

    Similarly, Blind Citizens Australia recommend that the Workplace Modifications
    Program be expanded to cover people with disability engaged in part-time
    and unpaid work (see further Chapter 2).

    One example of a work experience program for law students with disability
    is the 'Stepping into Law' program organised by Employers Making a Difference
    (EMAD). Not only are these students given the opportunity to gain valuable
    work experience, but the chances of it being a successful experience
    are enhanced by the provision of additional support to colleagues in
    the workplace. The program is described by the DDLC:

    The "Stepping into Law" program is a pilot program commencing
    in July 2005, which pairs law students with a disability with employees
    within top law firms to gain four weeks of work experience. The law
    firms (Baker and McKenzie, Blake Dawson Waldron, Freehills and Sparke
    Helmore) agree to run disability awareness training in their workplace
    before the work experience session commences. This program represents
    a proactive approach to breaking down systemic discrimination faced
    by people with a disability. [88]

    4.6 
    What are some of the social issues that impact on the transition
    to work?

    Some people with disability, for a variety of reasons, may feel they
    lack the necessary social and life skills to integrate successfully
    in the workplace or cope with a work environment. The Department of
    Human Services identified the following barriers that may need addressing:

    • poor self-esteem resulting from prolonged disengagement with the
      workforce
    • the presence of sub-optimally treated medical conditions, particularly
      psychiatric ones
    • social isolation
    • fear of unknown / failure
    • attitudes of cynicism and hopelessness
    • reduced
      motivation
    • other psycho-social factors specific to individuals, which need
      addressing as part of a successful return to work program
    • people presenting with a physical disability may also have underlying
      mental health conditions (not necessarily diagnosed).[89]

    Solutions would include, but not be limited to, access to counsellors
    or psychologists both prior to and during the initial phase of employment.

    4.7 
    What attendant care is provided to assist transition to work?

    Several submissions to the Inquiry suggest that adequate attendant
    care is critical to the job readiness of a person with disability. For
    example, the scarcity of Attendant Care Packages for assistance with
    personal care leaves many people with disability unable to meet post-school
    education and training requirements.

    The problems in accessing attendant care are discussed further in Chapter
    3.

    4.8
    Conclusion

    Submissions to the Inquiry express general concerns about the accessibility
    and supports available to people with disability at secondary, tertiary
    and vocational institutions.

    However, in the context of ensuring that people with disability are
    assisted in becoming job-ready, the submissions are particularly critical
    of the absence of effective programs that ensure transition to work
    from those institutions.

    The primary problem seems to lie in poor coordination between the State-run
    education sector and the Commonwealth-run employment sector. However,
    there are also problems within each of the State and Commonwealth approaches
    and the resourcing of those programs.

    For example, there are an inadequate number of apprenticeships and
    traineeships available to people with disability who require on the
    job support. This is especially the case for people who may not be looking
    for a certification but just want some work experience.

    Submissions recommend improvements to the Commonwealth-funded New Apprenticeship
    Access Program (NAAP) and the Disabled New Apprenticeship Wage Support
    (DNAWS) Schemes.

    Back to contents page | Next chapter



    Endnotes: Chapter 4

    [1]
    Submission 100, Brotherhood of St Laurence; Submission 30, Mental Illness
    Fellowship Victoria; Submission 34, Manpower Services Australia; Submission
    79, Australian Federation of Deaf Societies

    [2] Submission 23, Exton, p4.

    [3] Submission 100, Brotherhood of St Laurence, p2.

    [4] Submission 109, Waghorn and Lloyd, p23. See also Submission 23, Exton,
    p5. See also Submission 53, RANZCP, p2.

    [5] Submission 112, Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia, p1.

    [6] Submission 23, Exton, p2.

    [7] Submission 32, Australian Association of the Deaf, p6.

    [8] Submission 119, Parents and Professional Advocates, ACT, p2.

    [9] Submission 119, Parents and Professional Advocates, ACT, p2.

    [10] Incentives for employer include $825 for taking on a School-based
    New Apprentice and an additional $825 if they continue to employ the
    person for six months after the completion of Year 12. Other benefits
    include payroll tax rebates/exemptions and workers compensation premium
    exemptions, and these vary between State and Territories. For more information
    see http://www.newapprenticeships.gov.au/brochures/english2004/School_Based_broch.PDF
    (accessed 12 July 2005).

    [11] Submission 119, Parents and Professional Advocates, ACT p9.

    [12] Submission 60, TAFE NSW, p3.

    [13] Information obtained from NSW Board of Vocational Education and Training
    website http://www.bvet.nsw.gov.au/projects/project14.htm
    (accessed 21 July 2005).

    [14] Submission 21, Disability Services Commission WA, p3.

    [15] Submission 46, Centacare, p5.

    [16] Submission 85, Disability Discrimination Legal Centre NSW, p25.

    [17] Submission 49, Disability Council of NSW, p8. See also, Submission
    68, ACE National Network, p4; Submission 77, RBS.RVIB.VAF Limited, p4;
    Submission 19, Action on Disability within Ethnic Communities, p2; Submission
    52, Ability Technology, p2; Submission 46, Centacare, pp5-6.

    [18] Submission 100, Brotherhood of St Laurence, p6.

    [19] Submission 45B, NSW CID, p4.

    [20] Submission 31, ADTAC, p3.

    [21] Submission 21, Disability Services Commission WA, p4.

    [22] Submission 27, DEAC, p5, 16.

    [23] Submission 27, DEAC, p5, 16.

    [24] House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Workplace
    Relations and Workforce Participation, Working for Australia's future:
    Increasing participation in the workforce
    , March 2005. See also
    Submission 86, AiGroup, p5.

    [25] Submission 119, Parents and Professional Advocates, ACT, p2.

    [26] Submission 126, South Australian Government, p5.

    [28] For more information see the VET in Schools website: http://cms.curriculum.edu.au/the_cms/tools/new-display.asp?seq=-9&industry=vetis
    (accessed 12 July 2005).

    [30] Australian Disability Training Advisory Council (ADTAC), Bridging
    Pathways - Blueprint for Implementation
    2000-2005, 2000

    [31] Australian Disability Training Advisory Council (ADTAC), Bridging
    Pathways - Revised Blueprint for Implementation
    , 2005. Submission
    31, ADTAC, pp1-2.

    [32] Quote from Mark Bagshaw, Australian Disability Training Advisory Council
    (ADTAC) co-chair and manager of IBM Australia/NZ's Accessibility Centre,
    DEST Media Release, 03 December 2004, New national training plan
    wants more jobs for people with a disability.

    [33] Submission 31, ADTAC, p3.

    [34] Submission 78, Physical Disability Council of Australia, p5.

    [35] DEST, Shaping our Future: Australia's National Strategy for Vocational
    Education and Training 2004-2010
    , 2003 available at http://www.dest.gov.au/sectors/training_skills/policy_issues_reviews/ke….

    [36] Australian Government, Budget 2005-06, Budget Paper No.2, Employment
    and Workplace Relations, www.finance.gov.au.

    [37] Submission 68, ACE National Network, p4. See also Submission 27, DEAC,
    p5.

    [38] Submission 68, ACE, p4.

    [39] Submission 31, ADTAC, citing National Centre for Vocational Education
    Research, Apprenticeships and trainees 2003.

    [40] Figures as at 1 April 2005: Submission 126, South Australian Government,
    p11.

    [41] Submission 85, Disability Discrimination Legal Centre NSW, p12.

    [42] Submission 31, ADTAC, citing National Centre for Vocational Education
    Research, Students and courses 2003.

    [43] An enabling course is a course of instruction provided to a person
    for the purpose of enabling the person to undertake a course leading
    to a higher education award. It does not include a course: leading to
    a higher education award; accredited as leading to a vocational education
    and training (VET) award. DEST website (accessed 12 July 2004) http://www.dest.gov.au/sectors/higher_education/policy_issues_reviews/k…

    [44] Submission 27, DEAC, p5.

    [45] Submission 126, South Australian Government, p5.

    [46] Submission 85, DDLC, p25; Submission 45, NSW CID, p1-2, p13; Submission
    17, Family Advocacy, p2.

    [47] Submission 21, Disability Services Commission, WA, p4.

    [48] Submission 8, Miranda, p4.

    [49] Submission 45B, NSW CID, p1-2.

    [50] Submission 119, Parents and Professional Advocates, ACT p1

    [51] Submission 119, Parents and Professional Advocates, ACT p1

    [52] Submission 45B, NSW CID, p3.

    [53] Submission 45B, NSW CID, p4.

    [54] Submission 45B, NSW CID, p4.

    [55] Submission 120, Consumers of Western Day Programs, West Adelaide Rehabilitation,
    p1.

    [56] Submission 31, ADTAC, citing National Centre for Vocational Education
    Research, Student outcomes 2004. See also Submission 60, TAFE
    NSW, p1.

    [57] Submission 60, TAFE NSW, p2.

    [58] Submission 126, South Australian Government, p5.

    [59] See for example, Submission 119, Parents and Professional Advocates
    ACT, p8.

    [60] See for example, Submission 27, DEAC, p16; Submission 78, Physical
    Disability Council of Australia, p14.

    [61] Submission 126, South Australian Government, p4.

    [62] Submission 126, South Australian Government, p4.

    [63] For more detailed information about NAAP and eligibility criteria
    see https://naap.dest.gov.au/Default.aspx
    (accessed 13 July 2005).

    [65] Submission 85, Disability Discrimination Legal Centre NSW, p46.

    [66] Submission 60, TAFE NSW, p4.

    [67] Submission 100, Brotherhood of St Laurence, p9.

    [69] Submission 100, Brotherhood of St Laurence, p6.

    [70] Submission 119, Parents and Professional Advocates, ACT, p8.

    [71] Submission 119, Parents and Professional Advocates, ACT, p8.

    [72] Submission 119, Parents and Professional Advocates, ACT, p11.

    [73] Submission 119, Parents and Professional Advocates, ACT, p11.

    [74] Submission 73A, National Regional Disability Liaison Officers and
    Disability Co-Ordination Officers Network, p1. See also Submission 49,
    Disability Council of NSW, p4; Submission 27, DEAC Legal Services, pp4-5.

    [75] Submission 73A, National Regional Disability Liaison Officers and
    Disability Co-Ordination Officers Network, p1.

    [76] Submission 121, Ms Peiris, p2.

    [77] Submission 80, Blind Citizens Australia, p11.

    [78] Submission 39, Confidential.

    [79] Access to work trials is also discussed in Chapter 2.

    [80] Submission 80, Blind Citizens Australia, p10.

    [81] Submission 49, Disability Council of NSW, p4.

    [82] Submission 44, Australians for Diversity Employment, p2.

    [83] Submission 80, Blind Citizens Australia, p11.

    [84] Submission 73, Regional Disability Liaison Officers Network, p5.

    [85] Submission 80, Blind Citizens Australia, p12. Similar recommendations
    are made in Submission 77, RBS.RVIB.VAF Limited, p2.

    [86] Submission 57, Department of Employment and Training, p2.

    [87] Submission 126, South Australian Government, p15.


    [88]
    Submission 85, Disability Discrimination Legal
    Centre NSW, p27: EMAD - Current Projects, Stepping into Law, www.emad.asn.au.

    [89] Submission 96, Department of Human Services, p2.