After school jobs for young people with intellectual disability

Ms Amy Scott1, Ms Michelle Wakeford1

1National Disability Services, Parkville, Australia

Background
The strong relationship between the experience of work during secondary school and post school employment for youth with disabilities is well documented. Yet, many students with intellectual disability miss out on work opportunities while at school, putting them at a disadvantage in their journey from school to work. In response to this, Ticket to Work with support of philanthropic organisations and Job Victoria set up the collaborative project to support young people mainly with intellectual disability into After School work.

Method
We collected both qualitative and quantitative data and the project had two papers. One, a Latrobe University study, focused on the student’s experiences and internal evaluation exploring the experiences of key stakeholders and student outcomes. The quantitative outcomes data were collected through Ticket to Work organisational partners.

Ticket to Work After School Job data:
Disability Type
75 Respondents | Percentages

  • Amputation – Other: 1 | 1%
  • Anxiety: 1 | 1%
  • Asperger’s: 9 | 12%
  • Autism: 18 | 24%
  • Down’s Syndrome: 2 | 3%
  • Intellectual Disability: 36 | 48%
  • Learning disability: 3 | 4%
  • Physical: 1 | 1%
  • Speech impairment: 2 | 3%
  • Vision impairment: 2 | 3%
    Total: 75 | 100%

School type of students undertaking afterschool work
75 respondents | Percentages

  • Mainstream school: 15 | 20%
  • Special education unit in mainstream: 43 | 57%
  • Special school: 16 | 21%
  • Special development school: 0 | 0%
  • School of air/distance learning: 1 | 2%
    Total: 75 | 100%

If finished school, Year level completed (e.g. Year 12)
44 respondents | percentage

  • Year 11: 2 | 4.5%
  • Year 12: 40 | 91%
  • Year 13: 2 | 4.5%
    Total: 44 | 100%

If left school, what activity they are doing
35 respondents | percentage

  • In open employment: 28 | 80%
  • Left school – Looking for work including NDIS School Leavers Employment Supports: 6 | 17%
  • Left school traineeship/apprenticeship: 1 | 3%
  • Supported employment: 0 | 0%
    Total: 35 | 100%

Results

  • 81 students gained an after-school job
  • 80% of those that had left school when surveyed were in open employment post school.
  • Collaboration and communication between stakeholders is critical to successful outcomes
  • Facilitating the early entry of students with disability into work, while still at school, has benefits not only for students but for employers as well

Implications
We want more students with intellectual disability to have the opportunity and support to participate in after-school work. To this end we have produced a guide and resources to assist parents, schools, employment support providers and others to implement evidence-based practice. We continue to work with policy makers to ensure higher participation rates of young people with disability in the labour market.


Biography:

Michelle has 20 years’ experience in developing, implementing, and researching innovative practices. She has been key in developing award winning partnerships and programs that support social and economic inclusion. Michelle has been a passionate advocate for opportunities and support for young people transitioning from school to employment.