Launceston brothers Harry and Tommy Colgrave are eager to get a job, but face many obstacles in securing a job.
- Data show young people with disabilities are three times more likely to be unemployed than those over the age of 25
- Life Without Barriers’ Emma Benison says employers are often reluctant to give jobs to people with disabilities
- NDIS minister said previous government made plans difficult for people to navigate
They both have Fragile X Syndrome, an inherited intellectual disability.
Fresh out of grade 12, Harry has limited reading comprehension and finds tasks such as creating applicant profiles online, uploading resumes and cover letters, and completing aptitude tests difficult. .
“I need help with that,” said Harry.
He has had several job interviews, but so far has been unsuccessful.
Harry said he found it difficult to talk about himself.
“What do you find difficult about me? [making] Eye contact with people,” he said.
He had support from a disability service provider, which helped him think about what kind of job would be a good fit for him and provided support during the application and interview process.
He also received some employment assistance funds, which have now been depleted.
Harry will soon start working with local manufacturers organized through the family’s own network.
Data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show that young people with disabilities are three times more likely to be unemployed than those over the age of 25.
Australians with disabilities are more likely to experience long-term unemployment than those without disabilities.
The University of Adelaide reports that 18% of young people with disabilities do not enter the workforce within seven years of leaving school, compared to 5% of young people without disabilities.
Harry’s younger brother, Tommy, has started his own gardening business that takes care of lawns for customers in his area.
Tommy needs a support worker to help him, but his application for NDIS was rejected early last year.
His father, Brent, said he wanted Tommy to have the same opportunities as other young people to get involved in the community and build his competencies and skills.
“Any other parent, Coles or McDonald’s, who takes a 16-year-old to work four-hour shifts with them, stays there, works with them, and drives home?” he said.
Colgrave said it’s important for his sons to have a positive experience in their first job search.
“They are still figuring out what work life is,” he said.
“We want them to be involved in our work, to be accepted, understood and valued.”
Missing out on “Untapped Talent”
Emma Bennison, strategic engagement manager for disability employment at Life Without Barriers, says employers’ reluctance to allow people with disabilities to work is often the source of the problem. .
“The barriers are largely employers’ fear of the unknown, of stepping into the unknown of hiring someone who might do something a little different than what they’re used to. I think so,” she said.
Another barrier, Benison said, is access to NDIS, where job funding is inconsistent and people don’t know what to ask for.
Her first job taught her important skills such as listening to others, work ethic and time management, but many young people with disabilities missed out on those opportunities, she said.
“That means they don’t have some of the really important soft skills needed for employment when they leave school. That’s why these opportunities are absolutely critical for young people. It is,” she said.
Benison said the NDIS review should be used to understand the barriers to employment for young people with disabilities and ensure the scheme helps them achieve their goals and aspirations.
“We’re missing out on a fair amount of untapped talent,” she said.
“We are great problem solvers, great communicators, great innovators, and great at turning challenges into opportunities because we actually do it every day to get through life. It’s from.”
There are programs and pathways available, including School Dropout Employment Support, Qualified School Dropouts, and Disability Employment Services.
A spokesperson for the Federal Social Services Authority said Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021-31 has an Employ My Ability strategy, which aims to create inclusive workplaces where people with disabilities can thrive.
“There are four priority areas for this, the second is building employment skills, experience and confidence for young people with disabilities,” they said.
A spokesperson said supporting the school-to-work transition is a top priority.
In a statement, NDIS and Government Services Minister Bill Shorten said the previous government had made it difficult for people to navigate the plan and access what they needed.
He said participants were bureaucratically exhausted and isolated, and that his government was dedicated to changing their experience.
“We want to help people get jobs, and we want to make the NDIS experience better for everyone,” said Shorten.
“I asked [National Disability Insurance Agency] Check out this case for more information. ”
Shorten said one of the main reasons for establishing NDIS was to help people with disabilities find employment.
“While the number of participants being hired remains stable, there are signs that more young people are entering the workforce,” he said.