Exploring and planning for your child’s post-school options

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This page describes some of the options available to young people after school, and the supports available to support the planning process, and to help young people study or find work.

On this page:

Start planning early

Options after your child leaves school include further study at university or TAFE, apprenticeships, employment, volunteering in the community, or a disability day training program or support service. Many young adults will combine two or more of these options, or try out different options to find out what works for them.

All students should begin planning for life after school by year 10, but planning can begin as early as year 7. It’s a good idea to help your child to start early with exploring their options and working towards their long-term goals. Good planning will also make for a more positive transition from school to their next stage.

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Who can help with planning?

Your child’s post-school planning process should be directed by them as much as possible, and focus on their interests, passions and strengths. What interests or inspires them? What do they want do in their community? Encourage them to discuss their ideas and plans with friends, family and others who know their abilities and preferences.

There are supports in and outside school that can help with planning. Post-school planning can be coordinated and supported by your child’s Student Support Group. Your child can seek advice from their teachers, education support staff, careers advisers or the Managed Individual Pathways (MIPs) coordinator. They can discuss issues such as subject choice, work experience placements, Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses they can undertake at school, and the best senior secondary and leaving certificate programs to support their future choices.

Outside school there are transition planners employed by the Department of Human Services (see below), employment support services including the Disability Employment Network, and general career planning services and resources such as Career Information Centres and government websites.

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Post-school options: further study

All universities and TAFEs offer support for students with disabilities through their Equity or Disability Liaison Units (or similar); some smaller TAFEs share a regional unit. These staff can also assist with applications, enrolment and transition. A young person must of course meet the entry requirements for their desired course, and cannot be denied a place due to their disability. Contact the university or TAFE to discuss support needs well before applying for a place.

Depending on the institution, support can include special entry schemes, study skills courses, assistive technology loans, accessible materials and presentations, extended library loans, special consideration, alternative assessments, support for physical assess and parking, and support workers such as Auslan interpreters, note-takers or assistance in laboratories, the library or lectures.

Many universities and TAFEs offer short courses and bridging courses for students who do not yet meet the entrance requirements or who want to explore a field before committing to a longer course. Adult education providers – such as CAE and neighbourhood houses – offer short courses, which can be a stepping stone to further study.

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Post-school options: volunteering and day services

Volunteering can also provide a step towards employment or further study, and help increase a young person’s networks and knowledge of working world. To find out more, contact Volunteering Australia or any of the many community and other organisations that support volunteers.

Day services provide a range of activities for adults with disabilities, funded by the person’s Futures for Young Adults package or Individual Support Package (through DHHS) or NDIS funding (if they are in an NDIS trial area). Day services work with the person to tailor a range of supports and activities that aim to meet their individual needs and preferences. Activities can take place at the day service (for example at a day centre facility) or at other services (such as the local recreational centre or library), with organisation and support provided by the day service.

  • For more information, visit the DHS website and search under ‘Day services’.

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Post-school options: employment and apprenticeships

There are both universal employment services like Job Services Australia and specialist disability employment services. Young people who need ongoing support to find and maintain employment can get assistance through the Disability Employment Network (DEN).

DEN member services provide training in job skills and help with the job-search process – where to look for suitable jobs, resumé development and interview training. Once young people are placed in a job, DEN member services can provide short or long-term support, including on-the-job training and support for employers.

Whenever a person with a disability is in contact with Centrelink or any government-funded service, they are entitled to be accompanied by a parent, carer or advocate. Young people might also be able to receive assistance through the Transition to Employment program (see below), to help them move into paid work.

One option for employment might be an Australian Disability Enterprise. They offer the same working conditions as the general workforce, in areas such as manufacturing, printing, recycling, gardening, cleaning and food services.

There is also support to help young people with disabilities enter apprenticeships, including:

  • Wage support (payable to the employer) for apprentices with disabilities
  • Support for tutorial, interpreter and mentor services, and
  • Support for workplace modification.

Young people can do apprenticeships in a range of ways, including school-based options.

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DHS support for planning, transition and job readiness

If your child is on the Program for Students with a Disability (PSD) or its equivalent in a Catholic or independent school, they may be eligible for support from the DHS Futures For Young Adults (FFYA) program, which supports young people as they make the transition from school.

Your child can get support from FFYA throughout the year they turn 18 (usually their final year of school), and for up to three years, until they turn 21. This ‘Safety Net’ aspect of the program enables young people to try out different options on leaving school, and still receive support and advice from FFYA.

FFYA transition planners can:

  • work with young people, their school and parents or carers, building on the planning that started at school
  • give information, advice and referral to post-school placements and general community programs (such as neighbourhood house courses) that might suit a young person
  • providing funding for the young person to purchase disability-specific services to support their goals.

DHS can also provide short or long-term support after the three-year FFYA program has finished. Throughout the FFYA program, your child will meet regularly with transition planners to plan and review their supports and goals.

Part of the program is the Transition to Employment initiative, for young people who are not yet ready to receive assistance from a general employment service. It can provide training in job skills, help young people find job opportunities, and set up opportunities for work experience.

  • Talk to your FFYA planner to find out more, ask your child’s school, or contact DHS Intake and Response on 1800 783 783 for a referral.

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