Jobs outlook brighter for people with disabilities

A growing number of people with a disability are assisted in finding and maintaining jobs on the open labour market through services funded by the Commonwealth Government, according to a new report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Open employment services for people with disabilities 1998-99 presents data for the previous financial year on open employment services funded by the Commonwealth Department of Family and Community Services.

The data show that at the end of 1998-99 there were about 345 open employment services in Australia assisting 34,000 clients. About one-half of these clients were supported in a job at some time during the year.

The data also show that the services are increasingly successful in placing people in jobs. During 1998-99 the number of clients with a job increased by 26% from 10,590 at the start of the year to 13,365 at the end of the year. This followed an increase of 27% the previous year.

The age of clients ranged from 15 to 64 years. The proportion of younger clients (aged 15 to 19 years) was higher among new clients (21%) than among all clients who received support during 1998-99 (15%).

On average, clients worked for 33 weeks of the year and earned $236 per week.

Two-thirds of jobs were on a permanent, regular basis. Jobs were spread across all industry sectors, with the leading employers being in manufacturing and retail trade. The average time worked was 24 hours per week, although individual hours per week varied considerably.

Both the amount of support given to clients and their chances of getting a job varied considerably with client characteristics such as sex, age, type of disability, presence of multiple disabilities and assistance required with daily living.

Clients had a range of disability types. About two-fifths were people with an intellectual/learning disability, 24% had a psychiatric disability and 17% had a physical disability.


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