person standing near brown concrete wall

Life After School (18 years +)

Leaving School - What Now?

Your options after leaving school

Some people may choose to go on to further education or training, to get the skills and qualifications they need to get the job of their choice. Other people might want to start working and earning a wage as soon as possible when they leave school. What you decide to do is up to you. Some options of what you can do after leaving school include:

  • Post-secondary education and training: gaining formal qualifications at university or TAFE, undertaking a vocational education and training (VET) course, studying at a registered training organisation (RTO), or doing an apprenticeship or traineeship


  • Open employment: finding a job on your own, or with assistance from job agencies or Disability Employment Services (DES)


  • Supported employment: usually provided by organisations called Australian Disability Enterprises (ADE), this is where you have a support worker to work alongside you and assist you at work


  • Self-employment: working for yourself, or starting a business or microenterprise either on your own or with help from a service provider or NDIS


  • Day programs or community day centres: where organisations run programs that help people with disability participate in the community, or can focus on independent life skills such as meal preparation and using public transport, or recreational activities such as music, cooking and crafts


  • Volunteering: doing unpaid work, either for an organisation doing something that interests you and connects you with the local community, or for a business so you can gain work experience


  • Post-school transition programs: usually funded by the government and run by organisations and disability service providers, transition programs can prepare you for employment or further education by helping you plan what you want to do, and building your skills with things like training and job trials.


The ‘Launchpad – Leaving School and Leading your own Life’ website created by Autism Spectrum Australia is also an awesome resource for autistic people transitioning from high school into adult life. It has tons of information and real life stories about post-secondary study, employment, becoming independent, looking after your health, and more.

Autism Launch Pad


‘Get Ready for Study and Work’ is a workbook to help you decide what you’d like to do once you leave school. It has information and advice as well as activities to complete. The workbook is available in Easy English, a version for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and a Parent’s Guide. You can download the workbooks and parent guide from the National Disability Coordinator’s Office (NDCO) website

Get Ready for Study or Work

Activity - Exploring My Options

Right click on image below to open in new tab, then print:


Most people want to get a job when they finish high school or tertiary studies.  Having a job gives you more independence and your own money. This section will talk about the different types of employment available for people with disabilities, support services that can help you find and keep a job, how to make sure you’re treated fairly in the workplace, and where you can get help and advice about employment.

Deciding what kind of job you want

If you’re not sure what kind of job you want, a good place to start is by thinking about your interests, skills, and goals:

  • your interests: things that you enjoy doing
  • your skills: things you do well
  • your goals: things you want to achieve in the future.

You will need further education or training for some jobs. If you want to do further studies to get the job you want, go to the Education section earlier in this chapter.

There is a quiz called ‘My Employment Pathway’ on the Everyone Can Work website that can help you decide the best employment options for you:

Everyone Can Work Employment Pathway


The Ticket to Work website has lots of information about transitioning to employment after high school:

TTW Resources Young People


Work experience

Another good way to find out what type of job you might like is by doing work experience. This is where you try out a job for a set amount of time (this could be 1 full day, or a few hours over a couple of weeks). Work experience gives you a chance to try out different jobs and see what interests you. You don’t get paid for doing work experience.

You can find out more about work experience on the Everyone Can Work website:

Everyone Can Work – Work ExperienceThe Everyone Can Work website has a section all about work experience as well as an Easy Read booklet you can download:

Everyone Can Work – Interests


NDIS and Employment

NDIS can provide lots of different supports for people looking for work and those who already have a job. Some of these supports include:

  • Support preparing for getting a job: this can include things like working on your interview skills, help writing a resume, travel training
  • Support to find a job including work experience opportunities
  • Transport costs of getting to and from work
  • Personal care supports at work if you have high support needs: such as someone to help you eat and go to the toilet
  • On-the-job training and mentoring
  • Individual and group employment supports for people working in an Australian Disability Enterprise (ADE)
  • Support for people wanting to start a microenterprise
  • Support for people who want to change jobs
  • Workplace assessments and counselling.

NDIS participants who are 15 – 24 years old can get employment support added to their plan. This is called Finding and Keeping a Job funding. You can use this funding to:

  • find more work experience opportunities
  • get support and training while on work experience
  • support deciding what kind of work might suit you
  • help creating a resume and preparing for job interviews
  • help to develop work-related skills.

To get employment supports in your NDIS plan you’ll need goals that relate to employment. An example of a long-term goal could be to get a job. A short-term goal could be about the next steps you need to take towards getting a job. To discuss getting employment supports funded in your NDIS plan contact your LAC. LAC services in South-West and Great Southern WA are provided by APM. You can call APM on 1300 276 522 or email


For more information about NDIS employment supports check out the NDIS website:

NDIS Work Study Support


Types of employment

There are many different types of employment available to people with disabilities:

Open employment is working in regular employment instead of for a disability employer. Some examples of open employment are working in a clothing store or at a cafe. You can make better money working in open employment rather than working for an ADE. If you want to know more about open employment check out the Everyone Can Work website:

Everyone Can Work – Open Employment


Australian Disability Enterprises (ADE’s) are also known as supported employment or ‘sheltered workshops’. ADE’s are not-for-profit organisations that employ people with disabilities. They can provide ongoing employment or they can act as a stepping stone, helping to give people with disabilities skills and confidence before they move onto another job. ADE’s use a supported wage system – this means you are paid a percentage of a normal working wage based on your ability to work compared to an employee without disabilities. More about the supported wage system can be found on the Job Access website:

Job Access Supported Wage


Volunteering is unpaid work. It can be a step towards getting paid work and has benefits like giving you work experience, giving you work skills, and helps you give back to the community.

Microenterprises, also known as micro-businesses, are small businesses run by 1 person rather than a big company. They usually have between 1 and 4 employees. An example of a microenterprise is a small family business, or a business set up for a person with disability by their family. You can learn more about microenterprises on the Valued Lives website:

Valued Lives Microenterprises


Self-employment is where you work for yourself instead of for a company or business. You make money directly from what you do in your business.


Disability Employment Services

Disability Employment Services (DES) are funded by the Government to help people with disabilities find and keep a job. DES can help you prepare and look for work, and give you support once you have a job with things like workplace modifications and mentoring. DES can also help you get work experience opportunities and short job placements. DES can also help people with disabilities who live in rural and remote areas of WA through the Community Development Program.

To get support from DES you need to be 15 or older and have a disability. You will also need to do a Job Capacity Assessment (JCA). A JCA is a test Centrelink uses to decide how many hours per week you can work. You can usually get support from DES for 6 months, but DES can give you ongoing support if they think you need it. You can find more information about DES on the Everyone Can Work website:

Everyone Can Work – DES

Job Access Advice Line

Ph: 1800 464 800

(Monday to Fridays, 7am – 5pm AWST)

Online enquiry form: Job Access Online Enquiry

Webpage:  Job Access


Financial supports to help people with disabilities find and keep a job

If you want to start your own business or microenterprise, the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme is a Government program that can give you free business training, mentoring, and extra money from Centrelink to support you in the first 6 months of your business. You can find out more about the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme here:



Mobility Allowance is a Centrelink payment to help with travel costs for people with disabilities who are on Disability Support Pension, Jobseeker, Austudy or Youth Allowance that either work, are looking for work, or study, for at least 8 hours a week and don’t already have transport funding in their NDIS plan.

To get more information about who can apply and how much you can get call Centrelink on 13 27 17 or visit the Services Australia website:

Services Australia Mobility Allowance


The Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) gives financial help to eligible people with disability and their employers to buy work related modifications, equipment, Auslan services and workplace assistance and support services. EAF is available to eligible people with disability who are about to start a job, are self-employed or who are currently working. It is also available to people with disability who need Auslan assistance or special work equipment to look for and prepare for a job.

EAF can help to buy workplace modifications and services like:

  • modifications to work vehicles
  • special equipment for the workplace
  • information and communication devices
  • Auslan interpreting services
  • Disability awareness training for management and other staff at your workplace.

You can find out more about EAF on the Job Access website:

Job Access Employment Assistance


Financial support for employers of people with disabilities

Disabled Apprentice Wage Support payments are for employers who employ an apprentice who has a disability or currently employ an apprentice who acquired disability since they started their apprenticeship and now need extra support. Tutoring and mentoring services are also available to apprentices through this program.

Wage subsidy payments are also available through Disability Employment Services (DES) to organisations that employ people with disabilities on a long term basis.

More about financial support for employers can be found on the Job Access website:

Job Access Financial Support


Disability disclosure

Disability disclosure means deciding whether or not to tell your employer that you have a disability. You only have to disclose your disability if it might affect your ability to do your job or to work safely. By law an employer cannot discriminate against you because of your disability, and they must keep all information about your disability private. Sometimes it can be a good idea to disclose your disability to your employer because if you have an understanding boss they will offer you extra support or training because of your disability. Employers can also get subsidies and support to make workplace adjustments for you if you disclose your disability to them. For more about disability disclosure check out the MyFuture website:

My Future Disclosing Disability


Getting paid

It’s important to make sure you’re getting paid the right amount for the work you do. When you start a job it’s a good idea to ask what your wage or pay rate is, so you can work out approximately how much you’ll get each week. You pay rate will depend on what type of work you do, how old you are, and whether you’re a full time, part time, or casual employee.

A full-time employee is someone who works 38 hours per week. A part time employee works less hours than a full-time employee, but usually gets the same hours each week. Both full time and part time employees get leave entitlements.

A casual employee is someone who can work different hours each week. Some weeks they may have lots of hours, and some weeks they may have none. A casual employee doesn’t have leave entitlements.

Leave entitlements are when you get paid even if you don’t go to work. Full time and part time employees get annual leave (which is where you get paid when you’re on holidays or a break from work) and sick leave (which means if you’re sick and can’t go to work you will still get paid). There are other types of leave too, and leave entitlements have some rules such as the amount of paid sick leave days you can have, so it’s best to check with your boss or visit the FairWork website for more information:

Fair Work – Leave


If you’re a casual employee you don’t get leave entitlements, but you get a higher pay rate than a full time or part time employee.

Everyone who works in Australia has to pay tax. Tax is a small part of your pay that is given to the government. Your boss should take your tax out of your earnings before paying you. It’s illegal to not pay tax. At the end of the financial year (which is 30 June each year) you can do a tax return and you might get a bit of your tax money back. You can find out more about paying tax in the Money section of this booklet.

If you are a full time or part time employee, or a casual employee who earns more than $450 a month, your boss should also be putting money into your superannuation account. Superannuation is money that you can only use once you reach retirement age (which is currently 65 years old). It’s illegal for your boss not to pay you superannuation if you’re entitled to it.

To learn more about paying tax and tax returns, visit the Australian Tax Office website:

ATO Working Employee


For more about superannuation and leave entitlements, visit the FairWork WA website:

Fair Work Pay Wages


If you think your boss isn’t paying you the right amount or isn’t paying your superannuation or leave entitlements you can contact Wageline. Wageline is the WA government’s helpline for people having wage issues.


Ph: 1300 655 266 (Monday to Fridays, 9am – 4.30pm)


Webpage:  Commerce WA Wageline Contact


Check out the Fair Work WA website for useful tools and resources about getting paid:

Fairwork Contact


Bullying in the workplace

Bullying in the workplace is when a person or group of people repeatedly act unreasonably towards another employee (or group of employees). Some examples of workplace bullying include:

  • behaving aggressively
  • teasing or practical jokes
  • pressuring someone to behave inappropriately
  • excluding someone from work-related events
  • unreasonable work demands.

Everyone has the right not to be bullied or harassed at work. It is against the law to bully someone at work. Almost all employees are covered by these antibullying protections, including volunteers.

If you’re being bullied at work you should speak to your boss or to upper management. If nothing changes, or you’re unhappy with their response, you should contact the Fair Work Commission.

Fair Work Commission

Ph: 13 13 94

(Monday to Fridays, 8am – 5.30pm)

Online enquiries: Fairwork Online Enquiry

Webpage:  Fairwork Workplace Bullying


You can also get free legal advice and support about workplace bullying from

the Fair Work Commission’s Workplace Advice Service. To learn more about the

Workplace Advice Service:

FWC Legal Advice


Discrimination in the workplace

Discrimination means the unfair or bad treatment of a certain group of people because of their religion, race, gender, age, or disability. In Australia, people with disabilities are protected by a set of laws called The Disability Discrimination Act (1992). The Disability Discrimination Act makes it illegal for anyone to discriminate against you or harass you based on your disability.

These laws also support equal opportunity and access for people with disabilities. Equal opportunity means getting the same chance as everyone else at doing everyday things like getting a job, going to a sporting event, catching the bus, going to school, and so on.

Unfortunately, sometimes the rights of people with disabilities are not respected or listened to. Some examples of disability discrimination in the workplace are:

  • your workplace refusing to make reasonable adjustments to help you work
  • your boss making jokes about your disability to your co-workers
  • your boss refusing to give you a promotion because of your disability.

You have the right to speak up if someone is discriminating against you, treating you badly or harassing you in the workplace. If you’re being discriminated against you should first talk to your boss or to upper management. Most workplaces have an anti-discrimination policy and a conflict management policy, which is a document that tells them the best way to sort out any problems in the workplace.

If you have tried speaking up but the problem is still happening, or if the person you made a complaint to wasn’t helpful, you can contact the WA Equal Opportunity Commission. To make a complaint you can fill in their online form, or you can print out the form, fill it in and post it to the Commission:

WA Equal Opportunity Commission

Albert Facey House

469 Wellington Street


Online complaint form: WA Gov Make a Complaint

You can also contact the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC). The AHRC is the government body that deals with human rights laws and protections in Australia. You can even make a complaint in Auslan or in another language if English isn’t your first language. You can call the AHRC on (02) 9284 9600.

Online complaint form: Human Rights Make a Complaint


You can find more information about discrimination protections on the Legal Aid website:

Legal Aid Discrimination


More places to get information and advice about employment

The Everyone Can Work website has information and advice about available employment options and supports for people with disabilities in Australia, including lots of Easy Read resources:

Everyone Can Work


The MyWay Employability website is a career planning platform that was designed in WA by and for autistic people. You can discover further education and training and employment pathways and track your progress:

My Way Employability


The Autism Launchpad website has lots of advice and information about employment options and supports:

Autism Launch Pad – Work


JobAccess is the Australian Government’s Disability Employment Services website:

Job Access People With Disability


The National Disability Coordination Officer program (NDCO) helps people with disabilities transition from high school to further education and training or employment. The NDCO website also has some great resources like the Get Ready for Study or Work workbook. The NDCO Coordinator for the South-West and Great Southern WA regions is Bernard Tarbotton from Edge Employment.

You can call him on (08) 9286 6600 or by email:

NDCO website: NDCOWA