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Ticket to Work, triples the chances of school-leavers with disability to find work in what is set to

Post-COVID the workplace will be more daunting than ever for people with disabilities but Ticket to Work aims for a seamless transition from study to the workplace, because if people with disabilities do not find work straight from school their opportunities shrink dramatically.

When Minister for the NDIS, Stuart Robert announced the target of placing 30% of NDIS participants into employment by June 2023, COVID and its economic impacts weren’t yet a reality.

But while COVID may have been a setback to that goal, an innovative model called Ticket to Work – which supports young people with disability to transition from school to work – could make a significant contribution to that target and save the Government millions of dollars.

Ticket to Work is an initiative of National Disability Services (NDS) – the peak body for non-government disability service providers. The model works by using a collaborative network of schools, employers and employment agencies to support secondary students with disability to gain valuable work experience while at school and to transition into employment.

Economic valuations conducted by Social Ventures Australia (SVA) of the Ticket to Work model revealed an average financial benefit of $27,100 per participant over the three years of data they analysed. [HYPERLINK]

The $27,100 figure includes increased income for the young person and their families (with less of their time required for caring duties), increased tax revenue, and a reduction in government NDIS expenditure and benefits paid such as the Disability Support Pension.

“What this report shows is when students with disability are supported to find work, the employment and economic outcomes are remarkable,” said Gillian Turnbull, Director at SVA.

“The students with a disability who participated in the Ticket to Work model were over three times more likely to be in employment in the community when they finished school compared to students that did not participate.”

NDS supports 34 Ticket to Work networks around Australia; comprising 205 schools, 350 local organisations, and many employers. Together, they have worked with more than 3,400 students and delivered 1,621 first jobs for students with disability.

“The model grew out of research that showed participation in work during secondary school is the key indicator of post-school success for young people with disability,” said National Ticket to Work Manager, Michelle Wakeford.

Ticket to Work takes a collaborative approach to prepare high school students with disability for the world of work, which has resulted in participants having higher labour market participation, school completion, and social participation and independence compared to other young people with a similar disability.

Among the participants is Danielle Toscana, a year 11 student at Newcombe Secondary College who is vision impaired. She’s riding the wave of work, with an after school job at Ozmosis Surf and Skate.

“As Danielle is borderline legally blind, she has to take things easy for a while in a new surrounding until she works out what things are. But it hasn’t held her back,” said her grandmother, Dot.

“By having a part-time job, Danielle has blossomed. She believes in herself now.”

“We love having Danielle as part of our team here at Ozmosis. She has a great vibe that lifts the morale for the rest of the crew,” said store manager, Kristie Cain.

NDS CEO David Moody believes the Ticket to Work model stands to have a positive financial impact for both government and people with disability.

“Thousands of students with disability have taken part in the Ticket to Work initiative with incredible results. Many students who may not have finished school have not only accomplished that but gained meaningful employment and training.

“It’s so important right now that we work together to support young people with disability into employment.

“If we are to prevent further disadvantage then the doors to employment need to be kept open as we re-build in the wake of the COVID economic downturn,” Mr Moody said.

NDS is urging the Commonwealth Government to adopt the Ticket to Work model, with the research showing a modest investment will ensure far greater numbers of young people with disability gain access to meaningful employment each year.

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