Members share insights at recent NDS employment workshop
Recently, NDS Victoria ran a workshop, “Exploring Strategic Transformations in Supported Employment”, in which three members of the NDS Victorian State Committee shared their perspectives on transforming to a more open and inclusive employment landscape.
They covered the critical issues in the transition from supported to open employment, highlighting the importance of the skills that staff need to drive this change.
Amanda Youngs, MiLife CEO, Peter Symonds, IDV CEO, and Terry Symonds, Yooralla CEO, collectively created a diverse and knowledgeable platform for attendees.
All participants were asked some key questions: what were their key drivers for embarking on the transformation journey and where were they in the process? Each described a ‘win’ in delivering employment services.
The panelists spoke about the range of issues critical in the transition from supported to open employment. They highlighted the importance of considering the skills that staff need to drive this transformative change within organisations.
The panellists spoke about the importance of wide stakeholder involvement in the process, bringing in not just the organisations and participants but also their families, communities, and health professionals. All can play a pivotal role in supporting the transition.
They agreed that the best approach for participants was learning on the job in the real world rather than in a simulated setting. And to find the right job, you need to learn about a person’s background, their home, family, friends and interests.
They spoke about regulating the amount of support you give, depending on the person’s changing needs and changes in the workplace.
And it is just as important that employment strategies appeal to employers' needs, such as efficiency and money saving. Employment through charitable notions, they agreed, usually does not outlast the challenges along the way.
The workshop also discussed how to encourage choice and control through a more adaptable employment model. The idea that people with disability should have greater agency in their employment decisions underlay many employment recommendations from the Disability Royal Commission report.
But there are challenges:
- Funding for participants with high support needs has not landed.
- There is a wide range of models and no one knows which mix will be best.
- Conversations about goals and ambitions need to be had with participants, whether new or transitioning.
- There are often low expectations from the families of people with disability and we need to bring them on the journey one step at a time.
The NDS Employment Workshop served as a platform for sharing knowledge, insights and best practices to pave the way for a more inclusive and open employment landscape for participants. NDS will continue supporting members on this journey and we’re planning another practical workshop in the first half of 2024.
To learn more about transitioning services to a modernised, braided model of employment, NDS has a resource page that includes tools and tips from a recent visit from Sara Murphy. Sara is a United States-based leader in the field of employment service transformation and shares some practical ways to realign resources and develop the skills for successful employment and community integration.
And in partnership with Lean Enterprises Australia, NDS offers the Basics of Lean Thinking and Practice workshops for strategic leaders and managers.