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What is open employment? (Easy Read)

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Open employment is when people with and without disability work together in the same workplace.

It is the regular job market where people:

  • apply for jobs
  • set up their own business to earn money.

Open employment is for all people, including people with intellectual disability.

People called researchers have looked into open employment for people with intellectual disability.


What researchers found is people with intellectual disability are:

  • less likely to get a job when they leave school
  • more likely to leave their job when they are in their 30s.

Open employment is a human right.

There are laws in Australia that say employers must not treat you differently to other workers.

All workers in open employment must be paid a fair pay.

The government can provide supports to you to learn work skills and find and keep a job.

This website explains how you and your family can get the supports that are right for you.

Why is it called open employment?

Because open employment is open to everyone.

But more people with intellectual disability work in closed employment than people with other disabilities.

Closed employment includes workplaces like Australian Disability Enterprises.

We call them ADE for short.

Often the only workers in an ADE are people with intellectual disability.

They are usually paid much less than open employment.

Why is open employment good?

There is proof that it is better for you because it:

  • helps to make your life better
  • helps to make your physical health better
  • helps to make your mental health better.

Because open employment pays you a fair pay, you have a better standard of living.

This means you have more money to buy the things you want.

When you are using your skills and learning new ones, it makes you feel important and valued.

Other people see you in a good way.

You meet more people and have more chance of making new friends.

Open employment can also help you be more independent.

Being more independent means doing more things for yourself.

You do not have to work full time to get all these good things.

Even working just a few hours a week in open employment can give you great results.

What stops people from working in open employment?

There is one main thing that stops people with intellectual disability from working in open employment.

Many people think they cannot work.


This is not true.

People called researchers have looked into this.

They found that everyone can work in open employment.

They just need the right supports and training.

Other things that can stop you from working in open employment are:

  • parents and supporters think it might be too hard
  • employers do not get the support they need
  • government and work policies get in the way
  • not having the right support to find and plan a good job for you.

There is not enough information about open employment.

Sometimes people are only given the option of working in an ADE or day program

This stops people from trying open employment.

How do you get into open employment?

There is lots of support to help you get into work.

This website can help you find the supports to get into open employment.


Some of these are:

  • National Disability Insurance Scheme

We call it the NDIS for short.

  • Disability Employment Services

We call it DES for short.

  • Disability Support Pension

We call it DSP for short.

Everyone’s way into employment is different.

But everyone needs information and things to make it happen.

You may need different information at different stages in your life.

Start your employment pathway.

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