People with disability
- NDIS Ready
- Accessing the NDIS
- What help can I get
- Examples of services and support
- Your questions answered
- Factsheets and publications
- Information and referral
- Continuity of support
- Connecting with the mainstream
- Other services in your state
- Consumer resources
- Sector Development Fund
- School Leaver Employment Supports
- Videos and stories
School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES) frequently asked questions
SLES timelines | Previous and existing employment support programs | NSW agreements and Transition to Work | Previous and existing employment support programs | SLES and other NDIS funded employment supports | NSW agreements and Transition to Work | SLES supports in your NDIS Plan | Participant pathway | Choosing a SLES provider | Measuring success
SLES is a reasonable and necessary support available to new and existing NDIA participants who are school leavers.
Making a Reasonable and Necessary decision about SLES is informed through information about the participant's goals and circumstances gathered during the planning conversation, including any Centrelink Job Capacity Assessment (JCA) or Employment Services Assessment (ESAt).
If the Centrelink information is not available, NDIA staff will seek information during the planning conversation to determine the most appropriate transition supports.
Previous and existing employment support programs
SLES was modelled on the NSW TTW program. TTW is a two year program established in NSW that helps young people with a disability gain employment after leaving school. It was primarily for young people with a disability with moderate to high needs.
Unlike TTW, SLES is not a program; it is an individualised approach to employment supports which can be included in plans alongside other 'reasonable and necessary supports'. SLES supports participants for up to two years to assist them to become work-ready. It is expected that a participant will transition to a Disability Employment Service (DES) when ready to progress to job seeking, placement, and ongoing support.
Despite being modelled on the NSW Transition to Work (TTW) Program, there are some key differences. SLES supports are:
- tailored to the individual's needs and goals as outlined in that person's Plan;
- described in an individual Service Agreement (SA) negotiated between a person and provider;
- time-limited funding based on individual's needs and goals, up to 24 months
- subject to the standard NDIS Planning Review process, either at 12 months or in the case of a major change in circumstances, for example, the person has gained a paid job;
- complemented by other funded supports in a person's Plan;
NSW agreements and Transition to Work (TTW)
Per a bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth Government, the NSW Government, and the National Disability Insurance Agency, 'Working Arrangements for the Transition to the NDIS in NSW', any school leaving student who was found eligible for TTW will be able to access SLES supports following their entry to the Scheme. Participants currently transitioning in NSW are commonly referred to as Year 2 transition participants.
The NDIS will also ensure that young people who have commenced their TTW program will, if reasonable and necessary, maintain their planned period of support to ensure they do not experience disruption to achieving their employment goals. These participants will then have the choice to continue to receive their employment supports under SLES with their existing TTW provider. If the TTW provider is not registered with the NDIA, the participant will need to choose an alternative payment management, either plan management or self-management or change to a registered provider.
There is a small cohort of transitioning students assessed each year who are not eligible for a NSW Post School Program or supports, and instead are referred to access Commonwealth supports such as a Disability Employment Service. The NDIA does not receive information about these students in the transitioning areas of NSW.
SLES and other NDIS funded employment supports
SLES is designed for school leavers as a transition support and is targeted to Year 12 students. If the student is over the legal school leaving age and is an NDIS participant then it is important to discuss this change of circumstances and transition support needs. This can be a conversation with the participant's Local Area Coordinator or Planner. It is important to note that participants may also be eligible to access the DES Eligible School Leaver program, a mainstream disability program designed to support transition from school to work. Information about this program is available on the Disability Employment Services webpage.
Depending on the individual's set of circumstances the NDIS may be able to provide support to assist in achieving an employment goal through an individual NDIS plan. At this stage SLES is a support designed for school leavers, however, other NDIS funded supports as well as other mainstream supports may be available to assist. Importantly, DES offers a program for students while in the last year of school called Eligible School Leaver program. This would be a conversation to have during development of the participants plan.
Yes. SLES can start from the date the plan is approved until the plan is reviewed. Plans are typically reviewed every 12 months. The SLES funding is reviewed at the same time the whole NDIS plan is reviewed. Some participants may choose to start TAFE or another type of activity and then change to SLES later in the year. We envisage that most participants will start SLES straight after finishing school.
The decision to include SLES in a plan is part of the delegates' reasonable and necessary decision. The decision to include SLES is therefore guided by Sect 34 of the NDIS Act. The delegate decision is informed by a number of things including any available Centrelink job capacity information, and the participant's goals and aspirations.
NDIA participants may assisted to achieve goals through a range of supports. For example, participants may need help with household tasks and personal activities, mobility equipment, or therapy. All NDIA supports are funded using reasonable and necessary decision making. A participant's plan may include a range of supports provided by informal, mainstream and community networks. The NDIA planner or Local Area coordinator will help participants establish a well-supported plan to meet an individual's needs.
The aim of SLES is to support participant's aspirations for employment by, for example, developing an understanding of work and undertaking activities to discover work interests and skills. Well supported work experience is also a good way of building confidence.
Participants who have SLES in their plan will typically already be assessed as ineligible, or unlikely to be eligible to access a DES.
Participants will transition to a DES when they have developed the skills and capacity to successfully engage with a DES provider and meet the DES access criteria.
For more information on the SLES/DES transition see our factsheets available on the NDIS SLES internet page.
Participants would not typically have both SLES and supported employment funding in their plans. Sometimes SLES participants who are not able to meet the DES criteria, even after receiving SLES supports, would benefit from supported employment as an opportunity to continue to develop their employment skills in a highly supported environment.
SLES supports in your NDIS Plan
Supports should be individually designed for each person. The provider and participant should work together to identify goals and supports should focus on employment.
Supports could include:
- Work experience in open employment
- Learning to take instructions
- Communicating with others in the workplace.
- Understanding employer expectations
- Activities to identify skills and interests
- Activities to build resilience and manage fatigue in the workplace.
- Travel training
The amount of support delivered is dependent on the needs of the individual and will be different for everyone. It is important to consider what structure and routine might be needed in choosing a provider. The nature of the supports and whether they are delivered in a group or individually will vary as agreed between the participant and their provider and dependent of the supports required to meet the participant's goals.
Participants can receive supports from the date the NDIS plan is approved. The value of supports may be pro rata, dependent on the likely school leaving date and the timing of the plan approval. For example, if the plan is approved while still in the final year of school, supports may be adjusted to reflect the fact that service provision will be required from leaving school until the next plan review.
There is no set number of days or hours per week that SLES supports are used. Supports are tailored to meet the participant's individual employment goals. SLES funding is an annualised funding model rather than a set program. This model provides maximum flexibility in the delivery of supports.
This is done through a Planner or Local Area Coordinator during the first plan development or plan review.
It is expected that most SLES participants will transition to a DES provider when ready to actively seek open employment. If a provider offers both SLES and DES it is expected the provider will access only DES funding when the participant has reached this step. The funding remains in the NDIS plan until the plan is reviewed. If a participant obtains a job prior to the end date of the SLES plan funding, SLES providers might be able to claim the remaining SLES supports in the plan. There is a fact sheet that outlines when this can happen.
SLES does not fund transport. SLES is funding to build capability in individuals to support the transition from school to employment, however, depending on the participant they may be eligible for additional NDIS supports to assist with travel/transport. This would be a conversation to have at a scheduled plan review or visit the NDIS website to see what kind of supports may be available.
SLES doesn't fund driving lessons, but SLES does fund providers that may offer to support and facilitate a participant to build the skills they need to organise regular driving lessons themselves, depending on the participant's employment goal. If this is something that is considered important in reaching the employment goal then this is a good question to ask when choosing a provider. SLES is about building capacity and confidence to do things more independently.
Including SLES in a participant's plan is a reasonable and necessary decision, which is informed by a number of things including any available Centrelink job capacity information, and the participant's goals and aspirations.
If information on the participant's work capacity is not available from Centrelink, NDIA staff will seek information during the planning conversation to determine the most appropriate transition supports. This may include a potential referral to a DES, NDIS funded supports including SLES, or community participation.
If a participant is in their final year of school, the participant should have a discussion about SLES with the Local Area Coordinator or Planner during the planning conversation. If the plan is not due for review until after school finishes, an unscheduled review based on a change of circumstances can be requested, so that transition supports can be considered.
Choosing a SLES provider
As SLES is a specialised support with reporting requirements, it is highly recommended that a provider is registered with the NDIA. Providers should consider completing the NDIA registration process before delivering supports.
Yes. New providers who want to deliver supports can register at any time. You can find out about all registered providers on the NDIS website Find Registered Providers page.
Yes, some providers deliver both SLES and DES services. We encourage participants to choose a provider that will support them and participants can also change providers if they feel they are not receiving the supports that were agreed.
The choice of provider should align with the goals outlined in the NDIS plan. For example, a participant might want to develop budgeting and finance skills or transport skills and would prefer a provider who can offer the opportunity to build these skills. Alternatively, participants might want to work with people and prefer to build their interpersonal and customer relations skills. It is very important that the provider offers the opportunity to undertake work experience placements in open employment as this has been demonstrated as one of the most effective ways to build work readiness skills. Local Area Coordinator or Support Coordinators will help participants to consider post-school SLES options that will best contribute to achieving employment goals.
Yes, an NDIS participant can change providers. Participants are encouraged to choose a provider that can best assist them to meet their work goals and to then give that provider enough time to get the participant ready for employment. When participants first choose a provider, we recommend developing a Service Agreement (SA) to outline the participant and provider will work together and what activities are proposed to reach the employment goal. If at any point the participant or the provider feel like the Service Agreement is not being upheld, participants can seek alternative providers.
SLES funding is not intended to cover the cost of work experience insurance. Insurance cover for participants is always the responsibility of the provider or employer.
It is the responsibility of the providers to establish a 'no show' policy at the time of the Service Agreement. If it is stated in the service agreement that 'no shows' funding will still be claimed then yes.
SLES supports will be tailored to meet individual employment goals outlined in that person's plan. This may include work experience, communications training or travel training such as commuting to and from work experience. Participants will meet with their Local Area Coordinators or Support Coordinator to discuss their options for SLES supports that contribute to achieving an employment outcome.
The NDIA have a range of reporting tools.
The NDIA's monitoring and evaluation framework will capture participants' outcomes, as will the completion of the outcomes survey at each plan review
Additionally, the agency has some direct reporting and survey tools:
- A provider reporting tool that captures participant activity, status, and any outcomes to date. This is required to be sent to the actuary quarterly.
- A provider and participant survey to find out what kind of supports are being delivered and the benefits gained from SLES.
Together this information will be used to shape the design of future NDIS funded employment supports.
The NDIA will publish the SLES outcomes data in 2018. This would include key themes and findings from across all SLES participants and provider experiences.