Daniel's chance to be involved
With School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES) included in Daniel's National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plan, he has learnt new work-related skills while contributing to, and participating in, his community.
Through SLES, Daniel has made a large leap from having his own needs met and supported, to participating in his community through work experience. Through this process, he has gained confidence and learned the value and pride in doing good work.
Daniel's work placements began when his mum approached local businesses and started a conversation. Unfortunately, it is not easy to find work-related placements for young people like Daniel, who has autism and intellectual disability.
There are several barriers, including employer concerns relating to behaviour, training needs, insurance and policies. However, employers who have embraced SLES have said Daniel is a great team member and they have really enjoyed seeing him develop his workforce participation skills and they look forward to seeing him come to work.
Daniel's tasks included maintenance jobs at a local amusement park. He cleaned the crazy mirrors, re-stocked the fridge and he blew the leaves off the mini-golf course. He also washed vehicles and painted colourful signs for a horse-riding trail.
For Daniel, the flexibility, short shifts and lots of active initial support were critical. As he has progressed, his attention to tasks has improved so much so the hands-on support he receives will fade to increase independence.
Through the process, Daniel has taken pride in seeing the results of his work – hanging his painted signs on trees, lining the horse trail, and seeing trail riders enjoying them.
It would be great to see more businesses welcome the SLES initiative, knowing supports will be in place and the long-term benefits to the individual, the business, and society will definitely outweigh any initial concerns.