Interventions to support economic participation and employment for people with intellectual disability, on the autism spectrum and with psychosocial disability

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The Agency is committed to supporting participants who want to start thinking about how to get a job.

This might include funding capacity building supports to help participants build their work skills if they need extra help because of their disability

As part of this commitment, the Agency commissioned and undertook research to learn what works to help people with a disability to find and keep a job.

Two thirds of all participants have a cognitive and/or psychosocial disability, so the research has focused on supports for:

  • people with autism
  • people with intellectual disability 
  • people with psychosocial disability.  

The research consists of two phases:

  1. An evidence review of 161 published articles, reports and data by 34 experts (academics and senior government and non-government executives who have disability-related expertise).
  2. A mixed methods research study which includes interviews with participants, focus groups, and an online survey with NDIS frontline staff.

The first phase, an evidence review led by the University of Melbourne, has now been completed. 

What approach did we take for the evidence review?

The University of Melbourne worked in partnership with the University of New South Wales and Brotherhood of St Laurence to carry out this evidence review. 

In this phase, the University of Melbourne: 

  • reviewed 161 journal articles or reports and found evidence on 14 different types of employment programs that help people with disability find and keep a job
  • looked at supports that are designed to increase employment for people who are of working age (16 to 64 years). This might be in open or supported workplaces.

The review found 14 different types of employment programs that help people with disability find and keep a job. These were grouped into three categories:

  • supply side: programs designed to build the skills of an individual looking for work so they become (more) ready and able to find a job. These types of programs can also provide support employers to employ a person with disability
  • demand side: programs designed to create work opportunities for people with disability
  • bridging: programs that match a person with disability to appropriate work opportunities and provide support to both the person and their employer to access and maintain that employment
  • Some employment programs may sit in more than one category.

What did the review find?

Most of the research related to building the capacity of people with disability or the employer for people with psychosocial disability. And, most of the supply-side activities were vocational programs which teach a person with disability work-related skills that prepare them to find and keep a job.  

The review found many programs that were successful in helping people find a job.

Download the Plain Language Summary (DOCX 656KB) or visit the University of Melbourne website for the full review.

This page current as of
21 September 2021
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