Everyone has the right to work in a safe and supportive workplace. With the right support, people with intellectual disability can find and keep a job that suits their strengths.
Many people find that work improves their well being and helps them feel happier. A job can give you more financial freedom, help you connect with other people and teach you new skills.
What jobs are suitable for people with intellectual disability?
Just like the rest of the population, people with intellectual disability have a unique set of interests, skills and abilities. You will find them working in a wide range of industries from hospitality to the arts, education, healthcare and more.
If you’re not sure what job would be good for you, an employment consultant can help you discover job opportunities and career pathways that would be a good fit for you.
Examples of jobs for people with intellectual disability include:
An administration assistant works in an office and helps make sure everything runs smoothly. Their job duties include things like filing and scanning documents, collecting mail, cleaning work stations and conference rooms and restocking the kitchen.
A kitchen hand helps prepare food, wash dishes and keep the kitchen organised in a restaurant or café. This role would suit someone who likes working in a busy environment.
Cleaners are needed in all kinds of workplaces, including offices and schools. This is a good role for people who have an eye for details and can work independently.
Process workers work in factories preparing equipment, packing products and processing orders. This job might suit you if you like routine and clear job tasks.
Animal carers look after animals. They may work in a veterinary clinic, at an animal shelter or as a dog walker. Tasks may include exercising and feeding the animals, cleaning the facilities and greeting clients.
If you like being around plants and nature, you might enjoy working as a gardener or nursery assistant. Your tasks may include pruning, sweeping, watering and repotting plants.
Carpentry apprentices work closely with carpenters in furniture studios or construction companies. This may be a good role if you enjoy working with your hands and staying active.
There are lots of roles in a supermarket that might suit you if you’re outgoing and friendly. Roles include greeting clients, processing orders, stacking shelves and cleaning.
Hair stylist or beautician
Hair stylists and beauticians make people feel and look great. You might enjoy working in these roles if you enjoy meeting new people and have an eye for details.
Peer facilitator / Support worker
Are you passionate about helping others with intellectual disability find the support they need? You might enjoy working for a social services organisation as a peer facilitator or mentor.
Small business owner
Small business owners work for themselves and offer products or services to other people. For example, you could sell artworks, provide car washing services or speak at events. You may be able to get funding through the NDIS to start a microenterprise.
What support is available?
If you live with an intellectual disability and want to work, you can get help to reach your goals. In Australia, there are many types of disability employment assistance including:
Disability Employment Services
Disability Employment Services is a government funded program that helps people living with injury, illness or disability find and keep a job.
Providers offer personalised support to help participants prepare for work, find suitable opportunities and access workplace modifications to help them succeed in their job.
If you are already working but need help to stay in your job, you could be eligible for support through Work Assist. Work Assist is delivered by Disability Employment Services providers.
Work Assist providers work closely with you and your employer to find solutions to help you succeed in your job. You can get help with:
- Assessing your workplace
- Advice about redesigning your job role
- Accessing workplace modifications
- Accessing money for things like uniforms and transport
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can help people living with an intellectual disability access employment supports and services in their local area.
If you’re eligible for the NDIS, you can choose how you want to spend your NDIS funding and which providers you want to use. For example, you may use the NDIS funding to transition from study to work, find a new job, start your own business or change careers.
Where to start
Whether you want to find a job or need support to stay in your current role, help is available. You can register for Disability Employment Services through Centrelink or by contacting a local provider directly. You can also talk to an NDIS Local Area Coordinator about different services and supports you