6. Employment, higher education and vocational education and training
- The NDIA encourages participants to participate in the Australian labour force to the maximum extent that they are able in accordance with their goals, objectives and aspirations.
- Supports for employment, higher education and vocational education and training are designed to assist participants to develop new skills and qualifications and to find and retain employment.
- Supports of this kind may include formal study with a University, TAFE or other registered training organisation, open employment, volunteer work, work experience or employment in an Australian Disability Enterprise.
Before including employment, higher education or vocational education and training supports in a participant’s plan, the NDIA must be satisfied, amongst other matters, that the support will assist the participant to pursue their goals, objectives and aspirations.
For example, where the NDIA is considering funding individualised assistance to support a participant to transition to employment, it would be necessary for the participant to have expressed a goal relating to finding, securing or maintaining employment or improving their capacity to find work or employability.
In relation to employment, higher education or vocational education and training supports, the NDIA must also consider whether the support relates to a participant’s disability (see what are the general criteria for supports?).
For example, it would generally not be appropriate for the NDIS to fund compulsory text books or tuition or membership fees. However, if as a result of a participant’s disability there is an increased cost in accessing compulsory course materials (for example, an audio book at an additional expense), the NDIS may fund the additional cost.
The NDIA must also be satisfied that the provision of the support will be, or is likely to be, effective and beneficial for the participant, having regard to current good practice (section 34(1)(d)).
Therefore, before funding higher education or vocational education and training supports the NDIA will consider whether:
- the training is provided by a suitably qualified training provider;
- the training is appropriate for the vocational goal that has been identified (for example, the qualification or training is recognised in the community as a legitimate pathway to that vocational opportunity); and
- there is a reasonable likelihood of successful completion of the education/training by the participant and an identifiable labour market opportunity for paid employment or professional volunteering upon successful completion.
The NDIS will generally not fund, or continue to fund, higher education or vocational training when:
- there is no clear or demonstrated benefit or outcome for the participant;
- the participant fails to maintain satisfactory progress; or
- the participant withdraws or is expelled by the training organisation on the grounds of misconduct.
The NDIS will generally not be responsible for:
- the provision of open employment services that are provided by Disability Employment Services and Job Services Australia providers;
- direct employment assistance including job readiness training, job search, job-placement activity, or actively finding a participant a job or training opportunity (unless the participant is ineligible for mainstream Disability Employment Services);
- tuition fees or student membership fees that are associated with enrolling or participating in training;
- training or equipment for a person other than the participant;
- phone calls, photocopying, stationery, meals at training venues or in the workplace;
- capital investment costs, for example the costs of establishing and running a business;
- induction training, ongoing skills maintenance or development that is the responsibility of the employer, or the participant to maintain; and
- equipment that an employer provides, or should provide, to all employees to meet their statutory requirements and business needs.
See also is the support most appropriately funded or provided through the NDIS? In particular, employment and higher education and vocational education and training.