Employment can offer many more advantages to a person with Down syndrome than simply a source of income. Work gives structure, a sense of purpose, feelings of competency and pride whilst offering an opportunity to learn new things and meet new people. Work can fulfil the need for an individual to be productive, can promote independence, enhance self-esteem, and allow for participation in the mainstream of life. There are several options to consider when thinking about employment. The different employment styles all have their advantages and disadvantages that will need to be considered when deciding on a suitable form of employment.Different styles of employment schemes have been implemented to provide training and support to enable adults with intellectual disabilities to work in ordinary work situations with varying levels of inclusion.

Job Access - An Australian Government initiative, looks at workplace adjustments and solutions for open employment.

Open employment

Employment in the open market is commonly obtained through the services of Disability Employment Services (DES). DES' are a network of service provider organisations contracted by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. DES' assist job seekers to gain and maintain employment in the open employment market. They provide training, job placement and on-the-job support. For a list of DES providers in your area click here

Australian Disability Enterprise

Formerly referred to as Sheltered Workshops. Australian Disability Enterprise's are organisations that provide employment opportunities for people with a disability or disadvantaged people to work in a protective, segregated environment. While there are opportunities to complete real work and be taught new skills, the work is often described as repetitive and unchallenging and the wages are remarkably low.

Mobile Work Crews

Consists of a group of people with disabilities who visit different work sites in the local community undertaking a variety of different tasks. These may be primarily in one skill area, like lawn mowing crews, or may be across a range of activities e.g. in the horticultural and agricultural area.

Work Enclaves

A group of people with disabilities work in one company. The work enclave model is similar to that of mobile work crews except that work enclaves are not mobile. Both Mobile Work Crews and Work Enclaves predominantly run on a co-operative basis, with monies earned being shared amongst the crew after expenses have been deducted.

Legal Advocacy

The AED Legal Centre provides legal advocacy to people with a disability in the areas of employment, education and training.
To contact AED Legal Centre call 9639 4333 or email: noni.lord@aed.org.au