Ironing is a chore that most people put off, but not Trevor. The 30-year-old from Western Australia genuinely loves the process of steaming and smoothing clothes.
Not only does Trevor get a kick out of turning a pile of wrinkled laundry items into a crisp, snazzy wardrobe for the week ahead, he’s now making a decent living out of it after setting up his own micro-business from home.
With a bit of help from Ability Action Australia’s NDIS employment support team, he’s developing a loyal clientele who appreciate his care and attention to detail. Trevor even has plans for expansion, and is saving up for a larger press that’ll allow him to do the job more quickly and easily.
About our Employment support service
Ability Action Australia provides a dedicated employment support service to help people like Trevor, who live with disability, find meaningful work that reflects their skills, interests and goals.
The service matches you with an Employment Advisor, who takes you on a highly individual journey of discovery, involving a gradual, step-by-step approach to finding the right work for you.
Together, you explore your unique skills and interests, investigate job options and training needs, and visit workplaces and talk to employers. The program offers continuity of care, so you’ll be with the same Employment Advisor from start to finish, until you find the perfect role.
How did this process work for Trevor?
Brian Widiodarmono, our NDIS Employment Services Manager, says Trevor came to Ability Action Australia as a high-functioning man living with an intellectual disability.
“He was adamant he didn’t like people and his study options were limited,” Brian says. “Through the discovery process we found out the things Trevor did like, which included maintaining his car, watching movies and ironing!
“So, we created an opportunity via a micro-business where he picks up clients’ ironing in the morning and watches movies at home while he irons. He then drops it back around to his clients’ homes.
“He’s created a sustainable job for himself that ticks all his boxes.”
What steps are involved in finding work or studying?
Our Employment team has developed a proven method for providing participants with the supports they need to find work or study and live the life they choose. This method involves:
1) Job skills analysis
We explore the client’s relationship with the wider community and extended networks, noting:
- Places, groups, or events of interest nearby
- Available transport options
- Potential employment or other resources
- Areas to avoid
- Existing or transferrable job skills
- Emerging talents with potential for development
2) Employment pathways
We use the information gathered so far to highlight potential employment pathways by:
- Figuring out which areas spark the most interest
- Documenting possible job opportunities that exist in these areas
- Considering what capacity building or training might be required
3) Workplace information collection
We investigate the workplaces and roles identified in the previous stage using:
- Informational interviews with incumbents and employers
- Workplace visits
- Volunteer work
- Day-in-the-life videos
4) Preparing to work
We start preparing the client for work through the following:
- Creating a resume, CV, or online portfolio and a cover letter
- Practicing interviews
- Dressing for the workplace
- Planning transport to and from the workplace
- Developing workplace social skills
- Contacting potential employers
- Defining ideal conditions of employment (i.e. days, times, environment)
5) Review and report
We review the whole process so far with the client and their support team by going through the information recorded in the discovery template and document:
- What worked well
- What challenges were encountered
- What strategies have been put in place
- What is needed to achieve employment
Do you work closely with employers?
In addition to our individualised approach, we offer job carving, which focuses on co-designing a customised employment contract for a position that is mutually beneficial for both the employee and employer. Here are the steps involved:
1) Employer engagement
Identify employers though the open-market and established connections, which can include:
- Volunteer/work experience
- Scholarship, apprenticeships, and traineeships
- Vacancies in the open market
- Australian Disability Enterprise – supported working environment
2) Role negotiation
Work with the client, support team, and employer prior to commencement to:
- Negotiate the employment contract of a position
- Co-design a position description
- Ensure that supports are in place before starting
- Build flexibility into the above to accommodate any necessary changes
3) Employer assistance
Work with the employer in the initial period of employment to provide and establish supports for the client. This can involve the provision of one-to-one support when:
- Going through induction
- Learning job requirements
- Establishing processes and practices
- Getting to know professional network
- Building a peer support network
5) Ongoing support
Provide support to the client after the initial period to manage any barriers to prolonged employment. This may be phased out or passed on to DES providers over time, if appropriate.
What are the benefits of Ability Action Australia’s approach to NDIS employment support?
Our NDIS employment support service is unique, with the following features:
- Individualised approach, providing a tailored, person-centred method, rather than a one-size fits all style
- Consistency of care, where participants and their support network work with the same Employment Advisor from start to finish, rather than multiple contacts
- Flexible and holistic service, that supports participants to maximise their strengths and abilities
- Health and wellbeing coaching, with access to Positivum
- Access to a large network of connections, such as community organisations, employers, to help source work placements
- Ongoing support once you start working