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Employment Supports & the NDIS


It is no secret that for people with disability, the levels of unemployment are excessively high in comparison to people without disability. But lets immediately change the narrative – to people with different abilities. Only 53% of people with different abilities are employed, compared with 83% of people without a disability, and unemployment rates for people with different abilities are at 10%, more than twice the rate for people without disability at 4.6%[1]. These statistics alone highlight that significant action needs to be taken for people with different abilities to achieve both sustainable and meaningful employment.


Many people with different abilities who are employed, unemployed or not in the labour force have reported at least one difficulty in finding work[2]. Some of the difficulties that have been reported include:

  • · Inaccessible and potentially discriminating recruitment and on-boarding processes

  • · Too many applicants for available jobs

  • · Insufficient work experience

  • · Lack of accessible infrastructure

  • · Poor customisation of jobs to match abilities

  • · Lack of access to inclusive education and training

  • · Discrimination and stigmatisation by employers

  • · Own health or ability

  • · Lacked necessary skills or education

So, what role does the NDIS and we all have to play in assisting people with different abilities to achieve their employment goals and aspirations? From its inception the NDIS has had a strong aim of boosting the economic participation of its participants. To date however, the NDIS has identified that only 22% of participants are in paid employment.


The NDIA’s NDIS Participant Employment Strategy sets out a strong commitment of supporting people with different abilities to find and maintain meaningful employment. It aims to have 30% of NDIS Participants of working age employed by June 2023. Whilst it may not be overly ambitious, the strategy does have a strong emphasis on participants achieving meaningful and resultingly sustainable employment. The challenge for everyone, people with disability, employers, government and the NDIS, is how do we make this real for all people with disability?


Ange Boyd has been working with NDIS participants, in a mentoring capacity, who have a strong desire to gain meaningful employment. In breaking this down what each person talks about is engaging in a job that they are passionate about, where their skills, knowledge and experience will be seen and utilised. They also want to be challenged to grow their skills and grow professionally. These are goals we all want to achieve in our work life.


The NDIS has provided these participants with the opportunity to obtain assistance to help them develop their unique employment goals and step out the actions that they need to take to achieve success. The challenge now is for government, employers and the general community to recognise the value in employing people with disability and the unique skills they bring to enhancing our work cultures creating inclusive communities.


Ange and the Social Scaffolding team are actively pursuing employment pathways for people with different abilities – working with our clients to develop strategies for their funded NDIS participants, working with peers and peaks to call out and break down barriers, and engaging main stream employers to step-up and take on influential roles through leading by example. Watch this space for some exciting initiatives to be announced.

[1] Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 2018

[2] ABS 2016

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