Everyone has a right to participate in all sorts of activities, including work.  Going to work creates both personal and vocational growth and adds to your teenager's network of friends. Earning a wage and feeling productive gives a positive feeling of self worth and independence. It enhances social interaction and the income helps to access other activities.  In order to support your teenager make a successful transition to work a few myths may need to be dispelled.

There are a range of Employment Options available with varying degrees of support.

Open employment is the term used for people who participate in the mainstream employment market on the same bases as people without a disability. They can register with a Disability Employment Service to get help with interview preparation, applying for jobs and some support when they commence work. Your teenager can also register with these services before leaving school if they are looking for part-time work or will be leaving school.

The Supported Wage Scheme is a productivity-based wage assessment to determine fair pay if the person with disability finds it difficult to get or keep a full wage job because their disability affects their level of work productivity. A person who works on the supported wage system may look for work in open employment with the support of a Disability Employment Service or work within an Australian Disabilities Enterprise. (see below)

Disability Employment Services (DES) support people with a disability, learning difficulty, injury and health condition in their efforts to get and maintain a job. All eligible people with a disability have immediate access to the service they need. DES is a free service. There are no waiting lists. Disability Employment Services (DES) offer a range of services to support a job seeker's individual needs including:

  • Help to prepare for work, including training in specific skills.
  • Job search support, such as resume development, training in interview skills and help in looking for suitable jobs.
  • Support when initially placed into a job, including on the job training and co-worker and employer support.
  • Ongoing support in a job if required
  • The purchase of vocational training and other employment related assistance
  • Access to help with workplace modifications; support services and AUSLAN interpreting in the workplace.

There are two separate Programs within Disability Employment Services:

  • Disability Management Service (DMS) is for job seekers with disability, injury or health conditions who require the assistance of a Disability Employment Service but are not expected to need long term support in the workplace.
  • Employment Support Service (ESS) is for job seekers with permanent disability and with an assessed need for long term support in the workplace.

To find a DES provider go to: www.disabilityemployment.org.au/provider-search/sa/

For School Students

Young people can register with a DES in their final year at school. The benefit of the student registering before they leave is the evidence of their disability from the school can be used. The student may not have to undertake a Job Capacity Assessment through Centrelink first and can sign with a provider through Direct Registration. Many DES providers will assist students to find part time jobs (over 8 hours per week), which can help students build skills and confidence and a better resume, as well as provide welcome income.

How to Access DES

Contact a local Disability Employment Service provider directly or contact Centrelink on 132850 or visit your nearest Centerlink office and ask for a referral to a local DES provider.  You can find out more about your local Disability Employment services contact Job Access on 1800 464 800 or www.jobaccess.gov.au

Questions to consider asking before making a commitment to become a client of a DES:

  • Once registered, how long will I be a client of your service?
  • What type of support do you provide? For example: do you support all day in a job if required?
  • Do you offer any Programs to assist with work preparation?
  • Do you provide transport support?
  • What type of transport support do you offer?  For example, will the trainer get on a bus with a client until they are familiar with the bus route?
  • How long can someone remain a client if they do not have a job?
  • What other services does your organisation offer?
  • Do you assist with Centrelink issues?
  • What kind of jobs can you find for your clients?
  • Do you assist with preparing resumes?
  • Do you assist with further studies or training?
  • Does your organisation offer re-training for a new job or new position?  For example: training a new task in the same workplace

Australian Apprenticeships and Traineeships combine practical work with structured training to provide a nationally recognised qualification together with the experience needed to get into a selected field.

Australian Apprenticeships are now available in over 500 occupations in an increasing range of industries. Traditionally, apprenticeships are full time jobs that combine on the job training with part time training. A traineeship is generally shorter than an apprenticeship. Australian Apprenticeships & Traineeships are covered by formal agreements known as Contracts of Training.  These agreements set out the training and supervision an employer must provide as well as the obligations of the new apprentice. The training can be delivered on-the-job, off-the-job, or a combination of both. Off-the-job training is done with TAFE colleges, business colleges or other approved training providers.

An Australian Apprenticeship Centre (ACC) can provide information to employers, apprentices and trainees. They also provide incentive payments to employers. When your son/daughter has found an employer he/she will need to contact an Australian Apprenticeship Centre so that they can organise the details of the Training Agreement.

Group Training Organisations employ apprentices and trainees and then place these people with suitable host employers on a lease basis for all or part of the training period.  It is a unique form of labour contract in which the employer (GTO) provides no work directly but does so through leasing the apprentice/trainee to one or more host employers. Apprentices and trainee employed by a GTO have the security of continuing employment throughout the training period and support from a coordinator from the GTO.

For information about Australian Apprenticeships and traineeships go to: http://www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au/ or The Australian Apprenticeship and Traineeship Information Service website - http://www.aatinfo.com.au/Home

There a couple of Programs that can support young people with disability in an Apprenticeship or Traineeship called Disabled Australian Apprentice Wage Support (DAAWS)http://www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au/Program/support-australian-apprentices-disability and Mentoring Australia's Apprentices Project (MAAP) http://www.vetnetwork.org.au/01_cms/details.asp?ID=191

Australian Apprenticeships Access Program (Access Program)

The Australian Apprenticeships Access Program helps job seekers who experience barriers to skilled employment to obtain and maintain an Australian Apprenticeship. The Program helps disadvantaged job seekers by providing pre-vocational training linked to an Australian Apprenticeship pathway, intensive job search assistance and help adjusting to the workplace.

For more information about the Australian Apprenticeships Access Program, contact your local Centrelink Customer Service Centre or call 13 38 73.

More information about the Program is also available at:


What is the new Australian Apprenticeship Support Network?

The Australian Apprenticeship Support Network will replace the existing apprenticeship centre model after an open tender process commencing in the last quarter of 2014.

The new network will shift apprenticeship services away from paper-pushing to establish outcomes-focused services such as mentoring and job-matching to better support businesses and apprentices through their years of training. The new service providers will be up and running from 1 July 2015 and will make it much easier for employers to recruit, train and retain apprentices and trainees.

Who can access the network?

The network will support more than 100,000 employers (three-quarters of whom are small business) who train some 400,000 apprentices and trainees across the country. High quality, innovative and business specific training, that isn't part of a training package or accredited course, may also be funded in special cases.

What services will be provided by the new network?

Australian Apprenticeship Support Network services will include:

  • connecting apprentices and employers through targeted job-matching
  • providing advice about different course options and training delivery options
  • delivering personalised mentoring and support to at risk apprentices who are identified as needing extra support
  • providing guidance to businesses taking on apprentices, including to assist them understand their roles and responsibilities
  • manage the administration of an apprenticeship including the training contract
  • Administer the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program including employer incentives and trade support loans.

For more information please go to :


Australian Disability Enterprises (ADE) (formerly Business Services) are commercial enterprises whose workforce is predominantly people with moderate to severe disability All over Australia people work in Australian Disability Enterprises doing work as varied as catering, gardening, building furniture, metal fabrication, servicing the mining industry, printing and packaging. People who are employed in a supported employment workplace are encouraged to learn and gain new skills and training with the purpose of using these abilities to make and retain the transition into open employment successfully. See www.australiandisabilityenterprises.com.au

Day Options are available to young people with intellectual disability who have left school but are not able to engage in employment. Day Options provide education, leisure and activity choices.  Having a developmental focus, these activities help to improve confidence, self-reliance, community participation and choice. Applications are made via a Disability Services regional office. See: www.mysupportadvisor.sa.gov.au

Other Programs exist to support individuals with a range of identified barriers or needs.

Transition to Work Programs provide clear pathways for young people with a disability leaving school who are interested in pursuing employment, but who are not yet ready to move into employment or receive assistance though a Disability Employment Service (DES).

Mobility Allowance may assist with the costs of travelling to and from the workplace if they are permanently or for an extended period unable to use public transport without substantial assistance.

Workplace Modification Scheme Funding could also be available to employees under this scheme to adjust the work environment or to purchase equipment to enable the employee to fulfil their work requirements. Contact Centrelink/Job Access for further details.

Employment Assistance Fund (EFA) can be provided to modify workplaces or purchase modified tools and other specialised equipment. Employers can access this through Job Access or a DES.

For more information about these supports go to Job Access: http://www.jobaccess.gov.au/

Self-Employment Options

The New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS)

The New Enterprise Incentive Scheme is an Australian government initiative that helps eligible unemployed people to start and run their own new, viable small business. NEIS is there to train, support and help the participants to become self-supporting and independent. NEIS participants undertake an accredited 3-month small business management course, and in the first year, business advice and mentor support helps the business become successful. A NEIS provider will help you decide whether you should undertake a Certificate III in Micro-business Operations or a Certificate IV in Small Business Management.

Phone: 13 62 68


National Disability Coordination Officer
Programme (NDCO). South Australia:
Regions: 23-24-25


Join Mailing List

View Large FontsView Normal FontsView Small Fonts