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
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 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
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).
Disability Support Pension (DSP)
The DSP is an important income support for many people with intellectual disability, including people who work in open employment.
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.
Disability Employment Services (DES)
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.
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Employment resources from our members
- 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.
- Tip sheets and videos for workplaces supporting people with intellectual disability at work
- Case studies on supervision and inclusive meetings.
- Guides to support young people to start their career journey
- Online training about job customization and
- Plain English job descriptions.