Strategies for Finding a Job For People With Disability

Finding a Job For People With Disability

Having a disability shouldn’t be a barrier to a person finding meaningful employment. Whether a person is seeking a long term career, or a part-time or casual job to supplement their lifestyle, every person has the right to seek and gain work.

St Jude’s focuses on empowering people with disabilities to take control of their own lives. Although St Jude’s does not provide disability employment services, they work towards enabling clients to build capacity to enter the workforce – by increasing their level of community participation.

Psychosocial recovery coaching, a core service provided by St Jude’s, helps clients increase their recovery skills and personal capacity; which include building on their strengths, developing resilience and decision making skills. St Jude’s also offers home and community based services, which include education and training in specific fields, personal development skills and assisted travel — which positively impacts the person’s physical and mental wellbeing.

St Jude’s can also provide an individual with allied health services. These include physiotherapy, which can aid a person build physical strength to carry out daily tasks. An occupational therapist can assist a person with attending work or social commitments, and a speech pathologist can work with the client to build their language and communication skills, using alternative systems such as keyword signs if required.

Commencing the job hunting process can feel overwhelming for many, so here are some strategies to get you started.

Identify your key interests and areas of strength

Identify your key interests and areas of strength

The first stage in any job hunt is figuring out what industries appeal to you. This may align with what a person has studied at university, or which area the individual has worked in previously.

It is important to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What current skills do I have — what am I good at?
  • What skills and experience do I already have — and how will this strengthen my resume?
  • What type of work environment is my preference? Do I want to work in an office? Would I prefer to work in a hospitality or retail setting? Would I prefer something outdoors?

You also do need to take into account how easy it will be for you to travel to a particular workplace, an important consideration for those with limited mobility. Also, if you are able to perform the duties of the role, and if you will require reasonable adjustments to be made by the workplace to do so.

These considerations will enable you to assess whether a workplace will be a good fit for you or not.

Research Your Preferred Field

Once you have narrowed in on the area you are wanting to find employment within, it is good practice to learn more in depth about that industry, particularly if you have not been employed in it before. Research more about key skills and competencies required, the different roles within the company, company culture, and the opportunities for growth and career progression. Most importantly, you want to assess whether the company’s values align with your own.

Utilise employment resources

Job search websites

Online platforms such as SEEK, Indeed and CareerOne are a good way to put your feelers out there and see what types of jobs are currently available in your area of interest. You can narrow down your search preferences to field, location and employment type (full-time, part-time) to help refine your options. From there, you can submit your cover letter and resume to job advertisements which appeal to you. It is a good rule of thumb to submit multiple applications to increase your probability of getting an interview.

Disability employment providers

There are numerous schemes and services in Australia which are implemented with the primary goal of assisting those with a disability find meaningful employment. These can be engaged in conjunction with St Jude’s disability support services in the context of job searching.

Disability Employment Services (DES)

DES is an initiative by the Australian government which assists eligible people with disability find and maintain employment. It consists of a network of business and services Australia wide which provide support and resources for those with disability.

DES is open to individuals with disability, injury or health conditions which impact their ability to find a meaningful job. DES offers:

  • Career advice
  • Job searching
  • Resume writing
  • Developing interview skills
  • Training

DES providers also work with employers to develop practices that support an employee with disability within the workplace.

Australian Disability Enterprises (ADE)

ADE consists of a group of over 600 Australian organisations which provided supported employment for people with moderate to severe disability, specialising in those with intellectual disability. ADE are usually non-for-profit organisations, and offer a wide range of employment in — and not limited to, the following industries:

  • Production, packaging and assembly
  • Recycling
  • Screen printing
  • Landscaping and garden maintenance
  • Cleaning and laundry services
  • Hospitality and food services


APM is a human services provider, which focuses on enhancing an individual’s employability, health, wellbeing and social and economic participation in the community. APM is currently the largest provider of Disability Employment Services in Australia, and also serves as a network of NDIS service providers. APM offers services for both job seekers and employers.

Know your rights — understand disability disclosure

A person doesn’t have to disclose their disability on their resume or cover letter. The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 which was formulated by the Australian Human Rights Commission, makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person due to their disability. This includes in the context of the employment process, from advertising, recruitment, training and termination.

A person should know their rights before commencing the job hunt process, as it will enable them to make sure they are being treated fairly throughout the recruitment process.

At their own discretion, a person may disclose their disability to their employer, especially if they require reasonable adjustments to be made in their workplace for them to perform optimally at their job. To learn more about reasonable adjustments, see our previous blog.

How St Jude’s can help you

How St Jude’s can help you

As a NDIS disability service provider, St Jude’s offers an array of disability services to help support an individual during their job search. By utilising a disability employment provider alongside St Jude’s disability services, an individual will be well equipped to find meaningful employment.

By working with an NDIS support coordinator not only will a person move closer toward achieving their personal or career-based goals, they can also optimise their NDIS funding.

Get in touch with St Jude’s today to learn more about how we can support you in your job search.