Helping bridge the autism employment gap: Sam’s journey

16 July 2018

Helping bridge the autism employment gap: Sam’s journey

Sam’s journey to securing his first job Sam* first visited CoAct Service Partner, Interact Australia with his Mum, Jenny. He was keen to find work but with no employment history, work experience or career goals he was unsure about how to go about it.
Sam’s journey to securing his first job Sam* first visited CoAct Service Partner, Interact Australia with his Mum, Jenny. He was keen to find work but with no employment history, work experience or career goals he was unsure about how to go about it.

As the recipient of a Disability Support Pension there were no compulsory requirements for Sam to work, but he felt that finding a job would make a difference to his quality of life.

Unfortunately for Sam, finding work after leaving high school had been a struggle.

As well as his autism, Sam was diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) which impacted his reliability for keeping appointments. Lack of follow up from his psychologist and social worker at the time had also done little to improve matters. Now in his early twenties, Sam and his mother approached Interact Australia with the hope of increasing his chances of getting a job.

Job search and opportunities

Employment Consultant, Lisa took the time to find out as much as she could about Sam to help him identify the type of work he would be interested in. Through their discussions it became clear that Sam was attracted to more autonomous roles where he would have same daily routine. Together he and Lisa decided that applying for jobs in factories working as a picker packer would be ideal.

Understanding the challenge for Sam was sticking to appointments, Lisa set about designing a program broken down into manageable stages with achievable goals. Within just a few months there was a noticeable change in Sam’s behaviour. He was attending his appointments regularly and clearly wanted to follow through with looking for work.

Employment support and skills development

Interact Australia, one of CoAct’s Service Partners, was able to further support Sam in securing a job, through:

  • Resume editing
  • Interview techniques
  • Mock interviews
  • Referrals to suitable roles
  • Link to NDIS
  • Link to Ability2Drive

To help increase Sam’s confidence, Lisa also spent time helping him learn how to travel to the office by public transport, so he could show up for appointments independently.

Fast-forward six months and Sam has found a purpose and is on track to securing his first job.

Interact Australia will work with Sam to prepare him for any interviews he is offered as well as accompany him on the day.

It has been wonderful to see Sam’s commitment to the program and the confidence he has gained as a result, Lisa said.

Mum Jenny is thrilled to see the progress Sam has made as he becomes ready to enter the workforce.

He really is ready to take on the world.

Ongoing post-placement support

Interact Australia will continue to support Sam once he starts work. His Employment Consultant Lisa will check in with Sam every fortnight to make sure everything is okay and that he has everything he needs to keep him on the path to success.

If you’re looking for a supportive employment services provider who takes the time to listen to your individual needs and is with you every step of the way, why not try one of CoAct’s Service Partners, like Interact Australia.

Accessing DES on the Disability Support Pension

If you’re currently receiving the Disability Support Pension (DSP), we can help you find a job you enjoy and support you in keeping it long term.

Through Disability Employment Services (DES), we offer DSP job seekers intensive and tailored support to build skills for employment. You may be worried that finding work will mean losing your Disability Support Pension but this isn’t always true.

People who receive the Disability Support Pension are encouraged to build independence through work and in most cases, as shown in the table below, you can earn up to $180 a week from paid work and continue to receive your full DSP.

Get more info about finding a job and the DSP here.

Find your nearest CoAct Service Partner here.

*Candidate names changed to protect the privacy of individuals.
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