Looking for work online to help you achieve employment

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Most working-age (15–64) people with disabilities find engaging in the workforce to be difficult, and searching for work and employment options online can come with its own challenges.

Key Points:

  • Many people with disabilities face barriers when searching for work online, including websites not being accessible
  • There are a number of specific websites available to search for jobs that are catered toward people with disability
  • Disability Employment Services can assist you in finding suitable and sustainable employment

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 93 percent of working-age unemployed people with disability reported at least one difficulty finding work.

Depending on your disability, you may need specific arrangements to work, such as working part-time, specific leave arrangements or altered and modified duties and tasks, which can make it challenging to find an employer.

So how can you go about searching for a suitable employer online?

Challenges searching online for work

Website accessibility can be a big barrier for people with disability, as the design of websites, tools, and technologies can impact how you are able to perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with online job postings.

Websites can be more user-friendly for people with a disability, if designers considered adding Alt Text with images and using high contrast colours to assist those with low vision who often rely on assistive technologies such as screen and braille readers.

Allowing users to adjust the font size is also important for people with low vision who cannot read small text.

Website design can also be problematic for users with mobility disabilities who may not be able to use a mouse or trackpad.

For example, people with mobility disabilities need to be able to access content through the use of a keyboard by pressing the “tab” or “arrow” keys, or through the use of alternative input devices such as single-switch input or a mouth stick.

Employment websites often do not have Easy Read English content, which is text with layout and imagery to simplify and explain information to a person with a learning disability.

Additionally, applying for work online often has a series of steps that require ticking boxes, uploading documents or files, and typing out responses to relevant questions.

For people living with a disability, this can be a complicated process that can delay or deter them from gaining employment.

For websites that require more intensive navigation, a support person may need to assist you to full out all relevant sections and successfully apply for employment.

Looking for work

Job hunting can be difficult at the best of times, but there are a number of ways to search for jobs online and resources available to help make it easier.

Job search websites

If you have an idea of what type of work you want to be involved in, you can start searching for the perfect fit by using online platforms like SEEK, CareerOne and Indeed, using disability specific job websites, or searching job listings in local newspapers and job boards.

Service providers

If you are struggling to find work online, there are a number of different specialist services that are available to people living with disability or mental health conditions to help find the right job for you. These service providers are able to help you either with the whole employment process or with certain parts, like helping you prepare for an interview or find training opportunities. You can usually contact a service provider directly through their website.

JobAccess: JobAccess is a Government-funded initiative that aims to support the employment of people with disability. It provides information to job seekers and employees as well as employers and service providers. If you are struggling to find work options online, you can contact Job Access.

You can visit the JobAccess website or contact them by phone on 1800 464 800.

Disability Employment Services (DES): DES is a network of businesses Australia-wide that provides support to job seekers who have a disability, injury or health condition.

Most DES organisations have a job search option to look for relevant work that might fit your needs.

If you’re looking for work, a DES provider can also help you:

  • get ready to work
  • train in specific job skills
  • write your resumé
  • train in interview skills
  • look for jobs that suit you

There are two parts to Disability Employment Services:

  • Disability Management Services – helping job seekers with disability, injury or health conditions, find a job. They can also provide occasional support in the workplace
  • Employment Support Services – helping job seekers with a permanent disability to find a job if they need regular, ongoing support in the workplace

Find out more about DES by visiting the Government website, or search for the nearest DES provider near you here.

Australian Disability Enterprises (ADE): ADE is a group of over 600 organisations in Australia that provide supported employment opportunities to people with moderate to severe disabilities, usually intellectual disabilities. They offer opportunities in a number of different areas including design, packaging, landscaping, manufacturing and hospitality. If you are considering jobs in this field, you can search for job openings on ADE company websites.

Utilise programs to assist you to find work

There are many programs available to people with disability that can assist them to access work and also encourage employers to look at people with disability as viable options.

The Australian Network on Disability (AND) is a member based organisation that supports employers to include people with disability in their workplace. It does this by sharing resources and running training programs. Although the AND mainly works with employers, it also runs the Stepping Into Internship and the Positive Action towards Career Engagement (PACE) programs.

The Stepping Into Internship program provides skilled university students who experience disability with a paid internship at a leading business. The internship is a minimum of 152 hours.

The PACE program is a mentoring program where students and job seekers with disability are matched with a professional from an Australian business. The program lets you meet with your mentor six to eight times in three months, for one or two hours at a time.

Find out more by visiting the Australian Network on Disability, the Stepping Into Internship or the PACE program.

Recruitability is a scheme that is run by the Australian Government. It is designed to attract people with disability to apply for employment in the Australian Public Service (APS) while also promoting disability awareness and cultural change in APS recruitment teams.

The program allows people with disability who apply for vacancies the opportunity to automatically progress to the next stage of the recruitment process as long as they meet all eligibility and minimum requirements.

Find out more by visiting the Australian Public Service Commission website.

How are you searching for work? Tell us in the comments below.

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