Over the years, Australia’s Disability Employment Services (DES) have supported tens of thousands of people with disability to join the workforce. What many people don’t know is that this support doesn’t stop when you get offered a role. It can continue throughout your period of employment, helping you to achieve your employment goals and address any workplace barriers which may arise.

While not all people with disability will require support, it’s good to know these services exist and what they can do. With this in mind, Karla Fernee, Leader, JobAccess Employer Engagement shares an overview of DES and the important role they can play in helping you not only find but thrive in a job.

What is a Disability Employment Service and how can they help?

DES is the Australian Government’s dedicated employment service for people with disability. However, you might be surprised to learn that the role of a DES provider is much broader than helping the program’s participants find a job. Rather it is a service that helps participants prepare for, find and keep a job.

Their aim is to ensure that both participants and their employers receive the necessary assistance to address any potential workplace barriers, and access the required supports to ensure success in the role. This support is available during and for a period of time after the recruitment phase:

Preparing for work (Employment Assistance)

Providers can help you prepare for employment, providing advice and support with resumes, interview skills, and identifying training and work experience opportunities. They may also contact employers about suitable jobs, and help with negotiating and setting up any workplace adjustments needed. This includes submitting applications to JobAccess for the Employment Assistance Fund, which co-ordinates and provides financial assistance for workplace modifications, support and training.

Settling in to work (Post Placement Support)

When a participant gets a job, the provider will offer support for the first year of employment. They will stay in touch with you to see how you are going and if you require any further assistance. They can then talk to employers about any required workplace adjustments and offer on-the-job training and support.

Continued assistance (Ongoing Support)

In some instances, Ongoing Support can continue beyond the first year of employment. You should be working a minimum of eight hours per week to continue to receive Ongoing Support.

How do I find a Disability Employment Services provider?

A good place to start is by checking the eligibility criteria to enter the DES program. Eligible jobseekers can then access DES either through referral by Services Australia or by directly registering with a DES provider of their choice. To find a DES provider, you can go to the DES provider search page on the JobAccess website.

How will I work with a Disability Employment Services provider?

The benefit of a DES provider is that they understand disability in the workplace, and will work one-on-one with you, ensuring a tailored approach which meets your individual needs. Every candidate is different, and therefore so is the support that is provided.

Firstly, there will be a face-to-face meeting to meet and learn more about how the process will work. You would generally cover your work history, skills, and any access requirements. And the DES provider will also explain what is required of you as a DES participant.

Following the initial meeting, the DES provider develops a Job Plan. The Job Plan outlines the activities the participant will do as well as the assistance the provider will deliver to help a participant get and keep a job. From there, you will meet regularly, either face to face or over the phone, to ensure the Job Plan is on track. And hopefully, your next job is right around the corner!

For more information and additional resources, visit www.jobaccess.gov.au or speak with a JobAccess Adviser on 1800 464 800. You may also like to watch this video to learn more about how the DES program works.

Ready to read more? Try these Inform links:

How the Employment Assistance Fund can help you at work

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“You’re hired!” – How to ace your next job application and interview