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Employment

A man wearing a microphone headset and looking closely at a computer screen.

We believe people with intellectual disability have the right to work in real jobs for real wages. 

Real jobs for real wages give people with intellectual disability the financial independence, social connections and choices available to other Australians.  

Unfortunately, the rate of employment for people with intellectual disability in Australia is very low. People face many barriers to finding and keeping a job.  

Employment has been a big part of Inclusion Australia’s work for a long time. Find out more about our employment resources and other information about our employment advocacy below. 

Everyone Can Work website  

A yellow, green and blue logo containing an image of 3 birds and the words Everyone Can Work

Everyone Can Work is Inclusion Australia’s dedicated website about open employment for people with intellectual disability and their families.  

It helps families and people with intellectual disability make informed education and employment decisions at key life stages.  

Go to the Everyone Can Work website

Open employment  

A hospitality worker with an intellectual disability and his colleague stand together in in hospitality venue

Open employment is when people with and without disability work together in regular jobs. It also means people are paid properly for the work they do. 

By improving the systems and making sure people with intellectual disability and employers have the right support, we can make open employment work for everyone. 

Read about our work on open employment.  

Data and statistics 

A woman and a man sitting at a table and looking at a laptop together

According to the NDIS Employment Outcomes from 2021, 29% of people with intellectual disability who are NDIS participants were in paid employment.  

Of those people: 

  • 29.9% were in open employment 
  • 16.6% were in open employment but below the minimum wage and 
  • 45% were employed in an Australian Disability Enterprise (ADE). 

Read our report about the evidence on open employment for people with intellectual disability.  

Disability Support Pension (DSP) 

A man working on a laptop with a pile of letters in the foreground

The DSP is an important income support for many people with intellectual disability, including people who work in open employment.

Read our resources about the DSP

People with intellectual disability face many issues accessing and receiving the DSP.

It is complex, hard to access and doesn’t provide enough money to meet peoples’ basic needs. 

Read our Submission to the Senate inquiry into the DSP.  

Disability Employment Services (DES) 

A logo with a blue and green symbol and the words Disability Employment Services

DES is an Australian government program that helps people with intellectual disability find and keep a job in open employment. Read our DES resources

Despite government investment in DES, open employment rates for people with an intellectual disability remain low, while segregated employment settings grow.  

Inclusion Australia is part of the DES reference group, which is looking at a new DES system for launch in 2023. We are working with the Australian Government, disability organisations, service providers, academics and people with disabilities to make sure any new system works better for people with an intellectual disability.   

Read our submission on Disability Employment System Reform.  

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) 

A purple NDIS logo and a photo of two men working in a horticulture setting

The NDIS supports people with intellectual disability to transition from school to work, find and keep a job, change jobs or start a business.

Read our NDIS employment resources

In 2020, the NDIS made changes to the NDIS Participant Employment Strategy to make the NDIS more flexible for job seekers with disability. This gave participants more ability to choose the right supports to explore work. Read more about these changes on the NDIS website.

Our workshops  

Five people sitting at a table and talking together.

Inclusion Australia has run online employment workshops for people with intellectual disability, their families and supporters. 

These workshops are designed to help people with intellectual disability and their families navigate the systems and make informed employment decisions at all key stages.  

Watch our past workshops

Our reports 

What works report 2021 coverpage

In late 2021, Inclusion Australia partnered with the Australian Government Department of Social Services to deliver a series of practical workshops about Disability Employment Services and people with an intellectual disability.

People shared their experiences of working within the DES system and what needs to change for people with intellectual disability.

Read the What Works report.

Fostering employment report - coverpage

In 2020, Inclusion Australia commissioned a report by the Centre for Social Impact Swinburne about supports for people with intellectual disability finding and keeping work in open employment. 

The research shows that everyone benefits when people with intellectual disability get opportunities for work and work experience in open employment. 

Read the Fostering Employment for people with intellectual disability report.

Employment resources from our members 

Council for Intellectual Disability logo

Council for Intellectual Disability (CID)

Includes:

  • More Than Just A Job training for people with intellectual disability and employers
  • Stories and videos about employment
  • A range of guides including goal setting, budgeting and inclusive communication. 
Valid logo

VALID

Includes:

  • Tip sheets and videos for workplaces supporting people with intellectual disability at work
  • Case studies on supervision and inclusive meetings.
Developmental Disability WA logo

Developmental Disability WA (DDWA)

Includes:

  • Guides to support young people to start their career journey
  • Online training about job customization and
  • Plain English job descriptions.