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Benefits of secure employment highlighted on International Day of People with Disability

This International Day of People with Disability (3 December), leading employment services provider, atWork Australia, is highlighting the importance of secure employment for Australians living with disability or chronic health conditions.

In Australia, 1 in 9 (11.6%) people aged 64 years and under, live with disability – while this figure rises to 1 in 2 (49.6%) of people aged 65 and over1. Meanwhile, research from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows that people living with a disability are twice as likely to be unemployed compared to those who aren’t2. This can impact both their physical and mental health, and self-confidence.

For those aged 15-64 living with disability who are unemployed, the vast majority (93%) report experience difficulties in finding employment, while overall, people living with a disability are twice as likely to be unemployed compared to those who aren’t.

The benefits of secure work are vast – for many individuals, employment helps to improve overall wellbeing, reduce psychological distress, provide important structure to days and weeks, and provide financial security.

atWork Australia supports tens of thousands of clients living with disability, injury, mental health or health condition, or those who require additional support, every year, to find meaningful work that reflects their interests and goals.

Stewart, aged 56 from Gold Coast, Queensland, has been receiving support from atWork Australia to help get him on track to secure employment. Stewart’s journey began 10 years ago when he underwent open-heart surgery, two disc-related back injuries and now faces diabetes, all of which set him back both physically and mentally.

Stewart and his Job Coach, Kelly, worked through the skill and capability enhancements needed to support Stewart in the workforce, including resume and cover letter assistance, emotional and confidence support, training support and everything in between. The most important factor for Stewart was the support provided for his mental health. Having someone to lift his spirits and energy at a tough time of life, allowed him to gain the confidence and determination to turn his life around, and begin a new job role.

“My confidence was severely knocked-back when any time a workplace viewed my resume, it was instantly declined after seeing the conditions I have. Kelly really helped pick me back up at a low stage of life, leading my employment journey to secure me a job that understands and is inclusive of my needs.” Stewart said.

This International Day of People with Disability offers an opportunity to get involved in creating an inclusive environment for the 4.4 million Australian with disability3. Communities and workplaces are encouraged to align to the United Nations theme of “United in action to rescue and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for, with and by persons with disabilities”4.

atWork Australia’s role is to connect more people and businesses so both can thrive. The company works with clients to improve diversity and inclusion in Australian businesses and find creative solutions so everyone can find employment that is right for them.

To find out more about atWork Australia’s support services, please visit:


About atWork Australia

atWork Australia has been delivering employment services on behalf of the Australian Government since 2003. From more than 330 locations around the nation, atWork Australia delivers Disability Employment Services (DES), Workforce Australia and ParentsNext, connecting people and business so both can thrive.

Partnering with more than 3,500 employers across the country, atWork Australia placed 18,400 Australians into meaningful and sustainable employment in 2022, across a diverse range of industries and occupations.


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia. Summary of Findings. October 2019. Accessed 24 November 2023.

  2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. People with disability in Australia. July 2022. Accessed 24 November 2023.

  3. International Day of People with Disability. About IDPwD. November 2023. Accessed 24 November.

  4. International Day of People with Disability. November 2023. Accessed 24 November 2023.

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