Systematic review

Commissioned by the National Disability Insurance Agency this research by the University of Melbourne, the University of New South Wales and Brotherhood of St Laurence was undertaken to discover what helps people with disability find and keep a job.

The research focused on employment support for people with:

  • autism
  • intellectual disability
  • psychosocial disability.

The research included four separate parts:

  1. An evidence review of how employment programs are described.
  2. systematic review of national and international RCTS of employment programs to find out which programs work best.
  3. Identification of current employment programs in Australia and interviews with academics and senior government and non-government staff working in employment for people with disability.
  4. Mapping the evidence.

The research: 

  • reviewed 161 journal articles or reports and found evidence on 14 different types of employment programs that help people with disability find and keep a job
  • looked at supports that are designed to increase employment for people who are of working age (16 to 64 years). This might be in open or supported workplaces.

The review found 14 different types of employment programs that help people with disability find and keep a job. These were grouped into three categories:

  • supply side: programs designed to build the skills of an individual looking for work so they become (more) ready and able to find a job. These types of programs can also provide support employers to employ a person with disability
  • demand side: programs designed to create work opportunities for people with disability
  • bridging: programs that match a person with disability to appropriate work opportunities and provide support to both the person and their employer to access and maintain that employment
  • Some employment programs may sit in more than one category.

Most of the research related to building the capacity of people with disability or the employer for people with psychosocial disability. And, most of the supply-side activities were vocational programs which teach a person with disability work-related skills that prepare them to find and keep a job.  

The review found many programs that were successful in helping people find a job.

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