An evaluation of Community Bridging Service Inc.’s school2work Supports.

Miss Adele Demasi1

1Flinders University, Australia

Background:
Community Bridging Services (CBS) Inc. conducts school2work Supports – a newly developed intervention with the main objective of providing young people with a variety of cognitive and developmental disabilities, including Intellectual Disability, Down Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder, the opportunity to build capacity and explore post-school options in open employment. The intervention offers scaffolded pathways, including classroom training, community access activities and work experience. Research during 2019 evaluated CBS Inc.’s school2work adult model of pre-employment education training. This paper presents this research and the findings into the extent to which participants and parents/caregivers at CBS Inc.’s school2work Supports perceived the intervention assisted in building capacity towards entering open employment.

Method:
Focus groups were conducted at CBS Inc. with a group of young people with varying disabilities including Intellectual Disability who participate in school2work Supports. In addition, participants were asked to answer self-evaluation questions at the end of three respective days at the intervention of which the researcher observed. Twenty-six participants with diverging disabilities aged 18-21 were eligible to participate.  Individual interviews were also conducted with primary carers of participants to add stakeholder observations to the overall data used to evaluate the tailored training offered by the school2work Supports model. A program logic methodology framed this research to highlight the relationship between program contributions and activities, and the expected outcomes and effects.

Results:
Data was analysed through an on-going iterative process, supported by the analysis system NVivo.  The ‘classical content analysis’ on Nvivo effectively highlighted the concepts discussed by participants. Through identifying these concepts, Nvivo discovered key themes that suggested whether participants perceived the intervention assisted in building capacity towards accessing open employment opportunities.  The analysis coded and categorised patterns in the data and drew upon findings from participants which was then used to evaluate CBS Inc. school2work Supports.

Implications:
This evaluation of school2work Supports will guide future NDIS pre-employment models of support for young people with ID through identification of its strengths and/or areas that are perceived as requiring attention


Biography:

Adele Demasi is a fourth year student studying a Bachelor of Disability and Developmental Education (Honours) at Flinders University. She is 21 years old and her hobbies include socialising, playing competitive netball, going to the beach and keeping fit. She has an array of experiences working with individuals with disabilities, specifically adults with Intellectual Disability and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She is a dedicated and passionate individual who aspires to support individuals with disabilities and families to enhance their quality of life. She has a desire to work within an employment and Positive Behaviour Support space in the near future.