30 August 2022

Life Without Barriers is committed to improving employment opportunities for people with disability, particularly so school leavers and young people can access employment and begin their journey in the labour market.

People with disability comprise nearly 20% of Australia’s communities and despite this, around 93% of people with disability of working age experience difficulties finding employment and less than half are in employment.

Despite Australia’s unemployment rates at near record lows, the unemployment rate for people with a disability remains double that of working-aged people without disabilities.

Allison, a consultant for Youth Pathways Employment Program (YPEP) in Western Australia said while young people with disabilities face more barriers than most when leaving school and entering the workforce, she has seen plenty of young people who are eager to work in WA.

“A perfect example of one of our clients who was able to score his first job and start to earn his own money is Jayden, a 19-year-old who has autism and Kyphosis (curvature of the spine),” Allison said.

After struggling to find any type of work, Jayden and his family were referred to Young People’s Employment Pathways (YPEP), a program offered by Life Without Barriers that supports young people with disability to find work.

Jayden and the YPEP team worked together to find a job through the Coles Inclusion Team that suited Jayden’s preferences and suited his skills.

Allison supported Jayden throughout this journey, assisting him with help to stay up to date in his role and checking in to ensure Jayden is part of the team and doing well.

“Jayden is great at his job! He is reliable and attentive and has become an important member of the team. Jayden sometimes requires support in understanding procedures or changes at work and my job is to help him understand and explain why it is necessary and how to adapt.

“Since Jayden started working, paying board to his parents and having a little money on the side for things for himself, his confidence has grown, he has made new friends and he has shared with me that he is on a new journey in life.

“He got through the interview and induction process with flying colours - as I sat there listening, I felt my eyes welling up with tears as I was so proud of his effort.

“Businesses are really missing out when they don’t employ people with disabilities. People like Jayden are eager, reliable and responsible workers, cultivating a diverse workforce within an organisation.”

The Young People’s Employment Pathways program offered by Life Without Barriers supports young people with disability to gain skills and experience and find meaningful employment. It offers a flexible and individualised support service to build the confidence and skills needed to prepare for working life.

To find out more visit: https://www.lwb.org.au/disability/services/young-peoples-employment-pathways/

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