Schools often only offer work experience for a week or two during Year 10. But the following tips can help young people with intellectual disability get more work experience in Years 11 and 12.
1. Work with the school to include work experience in Years 11 and 12
Work with your young person’s school to include work experience as part of their transition plan, personalised plan or Certificate of Applied Learning.
- Ask the school to develop a formal transition plan (they are already supposed to do this, but not all schools do it properly).
- Provide evidence to the school about the importance of work experience for young people with intellectual disability.
- Suggest that regular (e.g. weekly) work experience be included in your young person’s timetable.
- Talk separately to the school careers counsellor to make a plan. Careers counsellors have the skills and local networks to contact possible work placement sites and do all work experience paperwork for you. These tasks are the school’s responsibility.
- Brainstorm ideas with your young person, family members and teachers who know their strengths well.
- Suggest creating a skills and experience portfolio that includes the details of all:
- their work experience placements
- the skills they’ve developed
- their reflections on what went well
- what they liked
- feedback from their employer.
- Look into local programs that include work experience in the final years of school, like Ticket to Work, and the Integrated Practical Placement Program.
- Tell the school about any National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding that can be used to support your young person with work experience.
2. Use NDIS employment support funding flexibly
Finding and keeping a job supports are available through the NDIS for anyone of working age, including young people still at school. If your young person is an NDIS participant, talk to their Local Area Coordinator (LAC) about getting funding in their plan to support them while they’re doing work experience in Year 11 and 12.
This might include:
- looking for work experience opportunities
- contacting possible employers. If you find this hard, you may want to write a script for when you make phone calls and have notes for face-to-face meetings. You could also hire someone to help you using the NDIS funding. Your young person will need an employment goal in their plan to do this
- making a portfolio of information to show employers, including:
- a resume
- certificates from school
- education and other achievements
- work experience or voluntary work
- working out what your young person wants to do
- getting to and from work experience
- onsite training
- job coaching
- customisation of job tasks
- personal care support
- travel training
- assistive technology.
The NDIS is not responsible for meeting the learning and support needs that education or Vocational Education and Training (VET) providers should provide. This means the NDIS can’t pay for:
- learning assistance
- building modifications
- transport between education
- training activities
- general supports to transition from education to employment.