10 tips for finding work experience and part-time jobs
1. Get support
Think about supports you could draw on to make the task of finding work experience and part-time jobs easier. This could be friends, other family members, including siblings, or other people who know you and your young person.
If your young person is still at school, ask their careers counsellor about contacting possible work placement sites and organising the work experience paperwork.
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants of working age (from 15 years old) can ask for employment-related support in their plan. You can use this support to explore connections and find work opportunities, as well as support at work. Talk with your Local Area Coordinator (LAC) or NDIS Planner ahead of time about employment goals.
2. Involve your young person
Think about what your young person is interested in. Make sure they’re involved in the conversations about work experience and part-time jobs, as well as finding possible employment opportunities. These conversations and research can help your young person work out ideas on what jobs or work experience to apply for.
3. Use your connections
Many families use family connections to help their sons and daughters find work opportunities. Find out if you have extended family who can provide work experience or a casual or part-time job that would suit your young person.
You can also think about people you have contact with in your everyday life and local community. Get together as a family and write a list of people you know. This could be:
- friends, including friends of siblings
- work colleagues
- shopkeepers and café owners you see regularly.
Think about the clubs or groups in your area or that your family belongs to. Are there jobs or work experience opportunities that could be adapted for your young person?
4. Set up a Circle of Support or Microboard
A Circle of Support, or other kind of network, such as a Microboard, can also be a great way to help you think about connections and employment opportunities. If you’re planning ahead, you could look into creating these kinds of networks, both for work and for other supports.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask
Think about how the people on your list may be able to help. They may have information or advice, know someone who would be good to talk to, or even be able to offer some work experience or a part-time job.
Start talking to the people on your list. Think about what you will talk about with each person. Write a basic script of what you want to say and take notes.
Be positive, not apologetic – you’re asking for their advice and giving them an opportunity to be involved. You’ll find that most people are happy to share their ideas, expertise and useful contacts. Be positive about what your son or daughter is aiming for and what they can offer. Tell people about any support they would have with them when they are working.
6. Community directories
Look for local opportunities. As well as being easy to get to, local work helps people with intellectual disability get to know people and build connections in their own community.
Most local government areas have community directories. They are often linked to your local government website, though some areas may have printed directories at the local library. They include lists of organisations in the local area, as well as what they do and their contact details. They can be great to find ideas about work experience and part-time work.
7. Local newspaper
Looking through your local newspaper for ideas, events and contacts. There are also free newspapers at local shopping centres. Both the news articles and the advertisements can be useful to talk about and spark ideas.
8. Local mud map
Using a big piece of paper and coloured felt pens, draw a mud map of the local area around your home. Include things like local businesses, shops, cafes, health care facilities and recreation centres. This is a great activity to do with the whole family, as other family members and siblings will know of places that parents may not think about.
9. Local noticeboard
You can find these in shopping centres, libraries and community centres, and sometimes outside the town or suburban shops. They are worth looking at for ideas and part-time jobs.
10. Local government
Local governments are one of the biggest employers in most areas. For example, there’s administrative work, parks and gardens, building maintenance and sometimes social services and the arts. Local governments also usually have policies that support employing people with disabilities. They are also often willing to take on work experience students with disability. Look at your local council’s website to see what kinds of services they provide.A circle of support brings together a group of people to support a person with a disability.