school leavers with a disability

People with disabilities face certain challenges at all stages of life. Dealing with a disability during the school years can have its ups and downs, but once school is over and everyone is going off to find jobs and chase careers, what help and assistance is available for school leavers with a disability?

Are there any programs school leavers can avail of? And if so, what do they involve and how do they work?

We’ll answer those questions in this article.

School Leavers Can Take Advantage of the SLES Program

SLES comes under the umbrella of a government initiative called NDIS. SLES represents “School Leaver Employment Supports”, while NDIS stands for the “National Disability Insurance Scheme”.

SLES NDIS is a joint initiative designed to help school leavers with disabilities find the help they need to get a job and keep a job.

So, what is the SLES Program exactly?

The idea behind SLES is to provide early intervention during the final year of schooling for participants in the scheme. It’s designed to enable a smoother transition from schooling into the workforce. A SLES provider will prepare young people for the world of employment. This is achieved through capacity-building activities, as well as by helping impending school leavers with disabilities both look for and land gainful employment.

What else does a SLES provider offer support with?

  • Create partnership and promote goodwill in the local community
  • Treat each participant in the program as an individual and tailor support to their specific needs
  • Connect with employers through their professional networks to seek jobs for participants
  • And more…

The NDIS funds the SLES program for up to 2 years and participants can learn new skills, like money handling, effective communications skills, work experience, time management skills and so on.

The NDIS is a scheme that offers ongoing support for people with disabilities, their carers and their families. This government scheme is designed to help those with disabilities not only find a job, but keep the job long-term. This is achieved through interacting with both the employer and the employee during their period of employment and helping to address any issues or concerns.

As school leavers face unique challenges, the SLES program has been introduced in conjunction with NDIS to facilitate the specific needs of school leavers with disabilities.

Who Administers the SLES Program?

Often the task of administering the SLES Program, per government requirements, is assigned to Jobactive providers. A Jobactive provider works in conjunction with Centrelink to help the unemployed, as well as people with disabilities, find employment.

Jobactive providers will oversee the SLES Program, as well as offer training, self-development programs, access to business equipment and moral support every step of the journey towards getting a job.

Negotiating work experience for participants is also an integral role of the Jobactive provider. Work experience is a fantastic way to learn new skills and often gives participants a firm foot in the door towards getting a job with that employer.

Participants also receive things like job interview training and help preparing resumes and job applications.

Disability Employment Services (DES)

This is another scheme that school leavers with a disability can access. You’ll either be eligible for SLES or DES, depending on how ready you are to make the transition from school to the workforce.

First, you’ll undergo an assessment to determine how many hours per week you are capable of working. If it’s deemed that you can work 8 hours or more per week over the next 2 years, you’ll likely be able to register for DES ESL (Eligible School Leaver).

The idea of DES is to give you the support you need to find a job and keep it. Those in the DES scheme are deemed more job-ready that school leavers in the SLES Program.

Other Options

Of course, rather than simply trying to enter the workforce after finishing Grade 12, school leavers with disabilities can further their education by going to university and getting a diploma or a degree. This will enhance employment prospects considerably.

Another possible option is word of mouth employment recommendations, where someone you know either offers you a job, or recommends you to a potential employer.


At the end of the day, it’s all about networking and having a support team on your side.

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