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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 is designed to help 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 more 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, in 2021, 29% of people with intellectual disability who are NDIS participants were in paid employment.  

Of those people: 

  • 12% were in open employment 
  • 13% were in open employment but below the minimum wage and 
  • 71.3% 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 here. 

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. 

For more information, read our recent Submission to the Senate inquiry into the DSP and the review of the DSP Impairment Tables.  

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 here. 

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 more in our recent Submission on the National Disability Employment Strategy.  

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 here. 

In 2020, changes to the NDIS participant employment strategy made the NDIS more flexible for job seekers with disability, giving participants more ability to choose the right supports to explore work. 

The Everyone Can Work website has Easy Read and plain English information about how to use NDIS funding to transition from school to work, find and keep a job and start a business.  

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.  

Click here to watch our past workshops

Our reports 

A picture of the front cover of a report

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 full report here.  

Employment resources from our members 

NSW Council for Intellectual Disability

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

Includes

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

Developmental Disability Western Australia (DDWA)

Includes

  • guides to support young people to start their career journey
  • online training about job customization and
  • plain English job descriptions