In 1997-98 open employment services assisted over 31,000 people with disabilities in their efforts to find and maintain jobs on the open labour market, a 20% increase from 1996-97. This followed a similar increase the previous year. Open employment services are funded by the Commonwealth Government.
Open Employment Services for People with Disabilities 1997-98, to be released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on Thursday, shows that just over half the clients who received open employment support in 1997-98 had at least one job during that year. While the jobs were spread across industry sectors, the two leading employment sectors over the past three years were retail trade and manufacturing.
One of the report's authors, Dr Phil Anderson, said that two-thirds of all jobs were permanent and regular. 'Jobs varied from casual work for a few hours to full-time jobs for the whole year. We found that on average open employment services' clients with a job worked for 32 weeks of the year, and the mean number of hours worked per week was 24-this is a slight drop over the previous two years.'
'Award wages were received for 80% of all jobs, with an average wage of $235 per week.'
Open Employment Services for People with Disabilities 1997-98 also shows:
- Clients who obtained a job received an average of 76 hours of personal support from an open employment agency over the year, and most support was received around the time of getting a job.
- Clients had a range of disabilities-the largest group (44%) was people with an intellectual/learning disability as their main disability, followed by people with a psychiatric disability (24%), and people with a physical disability (15%).
- The proportion of people with an intellectual/learning disability has fallen (from 52% to 44%) since 1995-96, while that for people with a psychiatric disability has increased (from 20% to 24%).
- Two-thirds of the clients were male, and the age distribution was similar for males and females.