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Developing work skills and employment opportunities for young people with disability (E)

Stream: Embracing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Participating in the paid workforce is important for income and security, and is intrinsically linked to a person’s wellbeing, standard of living and autonomy. Hiring people with disability can increase a company’s profitability and improve workplace culture, yet internationally, employment rates remain low amongst youth with disability.Based on Project SEARCH in the UK, the Integrated Practical Placement Program (IPP) is a structured study program for students with learning disabilities, designed to transition the students into paid employment by integrating work, learning and support in a workplace. A strategic partnership was established between the Royal Children’s Hospital and Holmesglen, and our IPP program became the first program of its type in Australia. Students accessed personal on-the job placement support and received employment coaching from a specialised Disability Employment Service. Students were placed in a range of departments within the hospital. Within Australia, it has become the ‘gold standard’ for securing sustainable and meaningful employment for young people with disability.In this presentation, we will share the outcomes from this work to demonstrate its positive impact on the lives of young adults, with most of our graduates now in paid employment and more confident to take on work. With the program in its 5th year at the children’s hospital and expansions to other organisations in Melbourne, including a large adult hospital and a city council, we will offer suggestions on how this model could be incorporated into other international vocational training providers who deliver foundational courses for young adults with disability

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