Supported employment brings quality of life for Cara

20 February 2018

Guest Blog by Diana and Malcolm Mackay

Parents Diana and Malcolm Mackay say that Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) have always played an important role as a specialist employment provider for people with intellectual disabilities. They’ve also been successful in providing meaningful jobs and other benefits like improved confidence, self-esteem and social engagement.

We have seen this over a period of 22 years while our daughter Cara has worked at Endeavour Foundation in Toowoomba. Together with assistance from other support networks and the financial support available to Disability Support Pensioners such as rental assistance and mobility allowance, ADEs give most supported employees the opportunity to engage in work and enjoy a lifestyle commensurate with their needs and desires.

The ongoing issue related to wage assessment tools (such as BSWAT) has been used by some to give ADEs a poor image, reinforcing the outdated idea that ADEs are sheltered workshops where employees are exploited.

This debate over wage assessment tools seems to have lost sight of the fact that supported employees are in receipt of a Disability Support Pension as their main
means of financial support. Cara and almost all of her work colleagues would attest to their satisfaction with their current financial situation.

The reality is that people with an intellectual disability are already very severely limited in employment choices. Many employment opportunities open to people with disabilities are not suitable for those with an intellectual disability. It would seem the Social Enterprise model, although ideologically appealing, struggles to offer meaningful employment options for people with intellectual disability in the digital world of the 21st century.

Small numbers of ADE employees continue to try open employment; however it has been our experience that many are not successful and later return to work at an ADE, as was the case for Cara. The most significant reasons appear to be an inability to perform the work at the level expected by the employer/supervisor; lack of adherence to workplace health & safety guidelines; literacy requirements; and the inability to relate to colleagues, combined with a lack of support to integrate with workmates.

By contrast, ADEs offer longevity of employment that is rarely experienced in open employment, and the opportunity for mentoring and training or upskilling. ADEs can also facilitate the flow of people with intellectual disability coming from other (non-vocational) disability services, or moving on to other models of disability employment like open employment.

ADEs occupy an important place on the continuum of opportunities available, especially in offering meaningful work options.

Supported employment has facilitated a quality of life for Cara that would be significantly different with any other alternative. As a consequence, this also flows through to Cara’s family members, with a greater quality of life and opportunity, beyond those delivered by NDIS implementation.

Most people with an intellectual disability will not form lifelong partnerships or have the opportunity for children and the role of parenting. This means that Cara, like most of her work colleagues, will place greater value on the belonging and relationships that come from a consistent and long-term workplace.

Contact us to find out how we can support you

Share:    



Other blogs and information you maybe interested in

3 things that aren't covered by the NDIS

It’s well documented what the NDIS covers, but what about the things it doesn’t?

We’ve been helping people navigate the NDIS for years, and if there was any question we get more than others, it’s “Is this funded by the NDIS?”.

In this blog, we’ll go over some of the things people commonly suspect are covered under the NDIS that aren’t.

Building confidence: tips for adults with intellectual disability

Confidence can mean believing in yourself, being brave, feeling ready to try new things and feeling happy and proud about who you are.

Self-confidence is your belief in how good you are at something, but it’s not a measure of your actual skill.

Am I eligible for NDIS?

Am I eligible for the NDIS?

If you apply for NDIS support you will need to provide information about your disability. This will help determine if you are eligible for funding as well as what kinds of support you will need.

The NDIS Price Guide: what it is and why it’s important

An easy way to think of the NDIS price guide is it is a lot like a shopping catalogue of disability support services that are funded by the NDIS, complete with the maximum prices things can cost.

What disability looks like according to stock images

Stock library images are popular when telling stories, especially online. They are a nice, warm-fuzzy kinda way to share a visual idea about just about any topic you could dream up. Our Marketing team like to use actual photos of the people and the families that Endeavour Foundation support where we can, but let’s face it, we don’t have a team of paparazzi-style photographers to follow you all around, so sometimes we resort to library shots too.
Disability diagnosis

Disability diagnosis: why it’s so important to get it right

Getting a correct disability diagnosis can take a lot of time, money and paperwork, but it is one of the best things you can do to make the most of your NDIS plan. Your disability support providers can only provide supports that you have funding for. If a diagnosis isn’t quite right, this can sometimes mean that people miss out on the services they need.