A job can have life changing benefits for young people living with disability. Not only does work provide more financial freedom and independence, it can give your child an opportunity to use their skills in a meaningful way and expand their social network.
Volunteering and work experience are a good start, but at APM we believe everyone has the right to paid work in a safe and supportive environment.
If your child is ready to work or thinking about their next steps after high school, there are jobs out there where they can thrive. As a parent or carer, there are plenty of ways you can support your child on their employment journey.
Below, we discuss practical ways to help your child find a job and work toward their goals.
1. Brainstorm employment goals
Whether your child knows exactly what job they want or not, setting long term goals can help them figure out the best steps to take now.
Encourage them to think about their strengths, skills and interests. Discuss possible jobs and industries that would be a good fit for them. Talking with an employment consultant may help.
If your child has not worked before, they may benefit from work experience or volunteering roles where they can discover what types of work they enjoy. This also gives them an opportunity to gain workplaces skills and experience that they can include on their resume.
2. Find job opportunities
Bear in mind that not all job openings are listed online. Encourage your child to try a range of job searching methods such as:
- Searching on online job boards
- Asking people in their network
- Looking in the local community
- Approaching businesses directly
Making a personal connection with a potential employer is always a good thing, whether that’s over the phone or in person. If your child feels confident approaching businesses directly, encourage them to bring their resume along.
Read more: How to find a job.
3. Create a resume and cover letter
Although it’s a good idea to keep a basic resume on hand, your child should create a new resume and cover letter for each job. The information should be tailored based on what the employer is looking for.
Read the job application with your child and highlight the important keywords and skills. Brainstorm real life examples of how your child has demonstrated these skills in their life.
Don’t forget to check over the resume for spelling and grammar mistakes before sending it off.
For more ideas, check out our guide on how to craft the perfect resume for people living with disability.
4. Practice for interviews
Interviews can cause anxiety, especially if your child struggles with communication or social skills. It’s important to practice and prepare for the interview so your child knows what to expect.
Encourage them to focus on their strengths and skills when answering questions. Brainstorm some real life examples of when they demonstrated core skills that the employer is looking for.
Role playing with common interview questions can be a helpful exercise. Don’t forget to discuss body language and etiquette.
Check out these job interview tips for more information.
5. Consider workplace accommodations
Employers may ask whether your child will need support or accommodations in the workplace. Your child doesn’t have to discuss their condition in their resume or interview, but they may need to explain about any special equipment they use.
Australian employers are required to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace so employers can do their job safely. Your child may be eligible for government funded support for workplace accommodations and special equipment.
An employment services provider such as APM can help with workplace assessments and recommendations for a more accessible workplace. We will work closely with your child and their employer to ensure positive outcomes for everyone.
6. Access supports and services
Whether your child needs support to find a job, access workplace modifications or develop their skills, there are many services that can help your child reach their employment goals.
Disability Employment Services
Disability Employment Services is a government funded program which helps people living with injury, illness or disability find and keep a job.
The program is delivered by providers across Australia such as APM. You can access Disability Support Services by recommendation from Centrelink, or by contacting a provider directly.
When you register with APM, one of our employment consultants will be in touch. We’ll work closely with you and your child to find job opportunities that align with their goals and interests.
We can also assist with writing resumes, preparing for interviews, accessing workplace modifications and more.
When your child is successful in gaining employment, we can provide ongoing support according to their needs to ensure they feel confident in their new role.
Disability Employment Services for school leavers
If your child is in year 11 or 12 and planning to find a job after they graduate, they may be eligible for the Disability Employment Services for School Leavers program.
Eligible participants can access:
- One-on-one mentoring
- Job coaching
- Personalised job seeker program
- Work experience and volunteer opportunities
- Ongoing workplace support
To be eligible, your child must be at a disability specialist school, in a disability specialist class at a mainstream school or receiving extra disability funding.
If your child is an NDIS participant or eligible for the NDIS, they may be able to access employment support through NDIS funding.
NDIS participants can choose how to spend their funding according to their personal goals.
That could include gaining skills to get your child ready for employment, such as money handling skills, work experience and time management skills.
Even if your child is not an NDIS participant, Local Area Coordinators can help you discover suitable services and supports in your area.
Why choose APM?
APM is Australia’s largest provider of Disability Employment Services, with over 500 locations across the country.
Just like you, we believe your child has the potential to thrive in the workplace and use their skills and passions in a meaningful way.
We understand every person has different needs and goals when it comes to work. That’s why we take a personalised and tailored approach. Our employment consultants will work closely with you and your child to make sure your child gets the support that’s right for them.
Call us today on 1800 276 276 to get started.