In Australia, young people with disabilities have lower workforce participation than their peers. This project addressed this important issue by examining emergent workers’ (young people with physical disabilities aged 15- 24) lived experiences.
Supported with an Australian Council Research (ARC) Linkage grant (LP 150100168), this project investigated emergent workers’ (young people with physical disabilities aged 15-24) transitions to work and the role self-service technologies play in improving choice and self-determination. Our aim was to help make the transition to work more seamless for young people with physical disabilities (aged 15-24 years) by broadening our understanding of their lived experiences of transitioning to work, by identifying interventions to improve online service delivery enables choice and self-determination in their journeys to work. Our findings indicate that:
- our policy landscape is still inefficient, more needs to be done to provide a holistic, transparent program to get young people with a disability into the workplace
- young people with disabilities often create their own creative resistance to get the system to work for them – this is not always enough to play within the boundaries given by society and employers
- the role of support from friends, family and employers as well as individual drive or motivation are key to successfully journeying to work
- the provision of online technology can create opportunities for young people with disabilities – both to help them in their journey to work and also in the workplace
- the amount of effort it takes for young people with disabilities to take a journey that is not routine presents a critical need – planning journeys to work require connecting a variety of services to better support new journeys
- seamless journeys to work can be enabled at policy level and at service provision – this requires a transformative approach to service design
Promoting self-determination and people’s choice to enhance workforce participation is key in Australia’s policy reforms around disability services. We aspire that the results of this research will provide key data to policy stakeholders and a model for enhanced delivery of services supporting access to employment.