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feature By Andrew Donne, Chief Executive Officer, Endeavour Foundation Supported employment matters Advocates for the introduction of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) made a strong case for the significant value that would be delivered to people with a disability and society more broadly, if people had the right supports to enable them to participate in employment. S adly Australia does not have And according to Deloitte Access Economics, in 2009, only half of the have tried but have faced bullying of inclusive employment 2.2 million working-age Australians and other issues which, in turn, have practices and opportunities. with a disability were employed, proven harmful to mental health. PricewaterhouseCoopers tells us that compared to nearly 80 per cent of While they are keen to work, they in 2011 Australia was ranked 21 out working age Australians without a have found supported employment to of 29 OECD countries in employment disability. be the only sustainable employment participation rates for people with In this context, it is deeply option for them; its significance must a disability, and around 45 per concerning that, currently, just cent of Australians with a disability two per cent of participants over were living either near or below the the age of 24 have an employment factor in helping people to stay poverty line. component included in their NDIS active, fit, and mentally engaged. It plans. boosts confidence and self-esteem, This is concerning on a number of levels because, while there are quantifiable fiscal reasons for having Having a job is an important and supports people to strive for potential-fulfilling goals. Employment offers an avenue for skills to be recognised and valued, engagement outcomes that result and brings a sense of purpose to from meaningful employment are each day, alongside friends and inestimable. colleagues in the community. We believe Australia must people have an income but also leads maintain a broad continuum of to increased social engagement and employment options, so that all the benefits that flow from it – the everyone who wants to work can same benefits which many of us take find the supports needed to make for granted. it happen. Inclusion does not mean When talking with people working employment not be undervalued. a job, the capacity building and social The opportunity to work ensures 46 to work in open employment. Many a proud history in terms dismissing the aspirations of people in supported employment, it soon with profound intellectual disability becomes clear that they have chosen who also want to enjoy the man δ)ΡΌ‘ΌΝΌ‰•…ΥΝ”Ρ‘•δ…Ι”ΥΉ…‰±”‰•Ή•™₯Ρ́½˜•΅Α±½ε΅•ΉΠΈ)±₯Ή­½Ή±₯Ή”Ή½΄Ή…