Did you know that currently, only approximately 24 percent of working-age NDIS scheme participants are employed in paid jobs? And of those, around half are working for just a few dollars an hour in supported employment opportunities? These figures are disappointing, so we’re pleased to hear that plans are underfoot to increase NDIS participant employment rates. We’re also happy that advocates for people with disability are pushing for much fairer wage conditions for those in supported working schemes.
NDIS Minister, Stuart Robert, has announced a goal to get 30% of NDIS participants into work by 2023. He said that the government’s strategy is ‘all about giving more people with disability, who have the desire and capacity to work, better access to the right supports to achieve their employment goals while breaking down barriers that they face trying to get a job’. Their plan focuses on key areas: increasing employment, giving more control to people with disability over their routes to employment and gaining the confidence of employers to hire NDIS participants. And the National Disability Insurance Agency has pledged to lead by example and employ significant numbers of people with disability, itself. All great news, Minister Robert!
However - whilst People With Disability Advocates (PWDA) approve of the general sentiment, they are pressuring the NDIS to stop supporting ‘outdated and unfair’ work structures seen in Australian Disability Enterprises and sheltered workshops, who employ people with disability at very low wages. In other words, they don’t want to see large numbers of people with disability working more, if it’s for terrible pay.
‘We want to see significant work from a national jobs plan that starts to break down the barriers we face when looking for and keeping a job, such as discrimination and a lack of workplace accessibility,’ said PWDA CEO, Jeff Smith.
Careseekers agrees. We would like to see a huge shift upwards in the amount of NDIS participants working in mainstream employment and for them to be given greater choice over their pathways to work. The PWDA’s suggested National Jobs Plan includes measures that strengthen the transition of young people with disability from high school into further education and mainstream jobs. We are all in favour of such systemic change and hope that the government is encouraged to act properly on it.
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