Supported Employment: Frequently Asked Questions
12th March 2021
When you're a person with disability looking for work, or trying to land your first job can be a daunting experience.
Applying for a job may seem like a pretty straight forward process for some (fire off a resume, dig out your “interview outfit”, and remember to smile), but for people with disability, finding work in a traditional work environment presents its own unique set of challenges. Limited accessibility, and communication or physical barriers are just some of the obstacles that can make it difficult for people with disability to gain meaningful employment.
Supported Employment with HELP helps people with a disability such as autism, Down Syndrome and other intellectual or physical disabilities overcome these hurdles, opening the door to an exciting world of endless possibilities.
What is Supported Employment?
Supported Employment is employment specifically tailored to support people with disability. It provides you with the extra support you need at work, creating an inclusive workplace that caters to, and celebrates your abilities.
Supported Employment can help you:
- Learn new skills (for work and life)
- Build confidence and self esteem
- Become more independent
- Earn your own money
- Explore new industries and areas of interest
- Meet new people and make lifelong friends
- Upskill for Open Employment
Our Supported Employment opportunities include roles in manufacturing and production, supply chain services, horticulture and hospitality. We know that choice is important and encourage our Supported Employees to try a range of different jobs to find their perfect match.
Learn more about the types of supported jobs available at HELP below.
At HELP our Supported Employees manufacture a number of items including BinSafe, MailSafe and GarageSafe. Manufacturing involves many tasks such as welding, powder coating and metal cutting.
HELP Supply Chain Services provide disability friendly work opportunities that cater to a range of skill levels. Our services span across every stage in the supply chain process including:
- Third-party logistics
- Light manufacturing
Our HELP Supported Employment site in Monkland (Gympie) is dedicated to:
- Recycling of cardboard, paper and soft plastics
- Document destruction - fee applies
- Recycling of clothes to rags
- Sale of second hand wooden pallets
- Sale of new packing cartons
Hospitality at Fison Food Factory
Operating as a café and high quality catering service, Fison Food Factory first opened in 2013 as a proud initiative of HELP. Located at our head office site in Eagle Farm and open to the public, the café doubles as an employment opportunity for people with disability and provides healthy meal options for staff and Supported Employees.
At Fison Food Factory Supported Employees can learn:
- Food preparation
- Customer service/front of house
- Cleaning & Food Safe practices
Horticulture and garden maintenance at Oxford Park Nursery
Located just eight kilometres west of the Brisbane CBD, our wholesale nursery business supplies high quality plants and advice to the landscaping industry.
Oxford Park Nursery provides a unique, alternative workplace environment for many of our on-site employees with a disability. There are many hands-on jobs available for Supported Employees including potting plants and garden maintenance.
We are always looking for new opportunities to expand our Supported Employment program. HELP works with a number of businesses to provide diverse and exciting types of work for our Supported Employees, especially within our supply chain service.
Where can I get a job?
HELP has a number of sites across SEQ so that you can work close to home at a location that is convenient for you. Public or organised transport options may be available at certain HELP sites so supported employees can get to and from work with ease.
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Horticulture & Garden Maintenance at Oxford Park Wholesale Nursery*this site is also connected to our Mitchelton HUB which offers a variety of community based programs for people with disability
Do I get paid as a Supported Employee?
Yes! Each individual undergoes a Supported Wage Assessment in order to determine their final wage. Your pay is based on the standard award wage and may vary based on the results of your Supported Wage Assessment and skill level.
Your wage is often supplemented by the disability support pension (DSP). Supported Employees usually continue to receive DSP even if they are working in supported employment.
HELP adheres to the government appointed Supported Wage System Guidelines to make sure all Supported Employees are paid a fair wage.
Do I need NDIS funding to enter Supported Employment?
Yes, to become a Supported Employee with HELP, you must have the relevant NDIS funding available. You will need to have specific funding allocated for employment supports, and/or have discussed employment as one of your NDIS goals with your Local Area Coordinator (LAC) or NDIS Planner.
If you don’t currently have NDIS funding related to employment goals, our HELP Intake Team can help you navigate the evaluation process and paperwork in order to secure funding.
1. Chat to your LAC or NDIS Planner
2. Contact the HELP team
3. Organise a site tour
4. Start a trial as a supported employee
5. Next steps
Supported Employees must also be over 18 years of age. If you’re younger than 18 you might be eligible for our School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES) program instead.
Our Supported Employment program supports a range of disabilities, however the majority of our Supported Employees are on the autism spectrum, have an intellectual disability or Down Syndrome
The benefit of Supported Employment is that your job is tailored especially for you, your ability and your personal skill level and knowledge. Together with the help of our team of Employment Support Officers you can grow and become the best version of you!
What’s the difference between Supported Employment and Open Employment?
Supported Employment is employment specifically tailored to support people with disability. This type of employment caters to people who need more support than what a traditional workplace can offer. As a Supported Employee you will have an Employment Support Officer who will work alongside you every day to make sure you are feel safe and supported no matter what you are doing. Check out some of our team stories to find out more about Supported Employment at HELP.
Open Employment refers to employment where an employee with a disability is engaged in the mainstream workforce, alongside employees without disability. Many Supported Employees go on to enter the mainstream workforce once they have upskilled, or gained confidence in a supported work environment.
As one of Queensland’s leading social enterprises and providers of disability care, we understand the life changing impact of meaningful employment.
At HELP, our team of support workers are with you every step of the way, right from day one.
We work with you to match your skills with a job that suits your passions and your goals. In the safety of a supported work environment we can help you establish positive work relationships with confidence, and work towards a more independent lifestyle.
To ensure all our supported employees receive customised support at work we use the research-based Person Centred Active Support (PCAS) framework. As practitioners of PCAS, HELP applies the following fundamental principles to ensure each individuals need are met:
1. Every moment has potential
2. Maximise choice and control
3. Little and often
4. Graded assistance
All HELP sites are inclusive, modern, and well-equipped with an experienced and qualified employment support officers to help you upskill and achieve your career goals.
Many team members make lasting connections at work, and stay on as long term Supported Employees and valued members of our HELP family.
Take a peek at some of our Supported Employee stories – can you tell they love what they do?
You may also qualify for other employment, or disability services that can help you get a job. Enquire now to find out more about our full range of services, including Inclusive Employment Supports and School Leaver Employment Support (SLES).
For more info about Supported Employment at HELP visit our info page.