Activ congratulates career coaches Michelle Tobler, Amanda Faithfull, Tracy Maree Coles and Sabin Regmi, and their manager Learh Wiles, Sales and Growth Manager, for being nominated for a WA Disability Support Award in the Excellence in Innovation category.
Activ’s career coaching program is an evidence-based approach to supporting quality employment outcomes for people with disability. The program has three key outcome domains; raising aspirations, making informed choices and increasing skills for work.
To develop the program, Activ undertook a consultation process to understand current and future employment for people with intellectual disability in Western Australia. Over 130 stakeholders were engaged across different sectors, including Activ’s supported employees.
Findings showed that young people with disability are often conditioned to not aspire for more from their employment. People with disability often remained in supported employment for many years, without a sustainable, tailored and appropriate opportunity to pursue further employment goals.
Based on the findings from our consultations, Activ engaged two career coaches to run a 12-month pilot involving 76 supported employees between the ages of 18 – 29 in the Perth north metro region, with the goal of supporting participants to understand their employment options and make informed choices about future employment.
Activ’s career coaches, Michelle, Amanda, Tracy and Sabin, work 1:1 with career coaching customers, to move through competencies at a pace that suits them. Career coaching customers are engaged in an in-depth discovery process to inform career assessment and assist with skill and job matching. Armed with an extensive profile, customers progress to an exploration phase, where they can engage in a variety of work placements, business tours (including virtual tours) and research with their career coach, to better understand their chosen industry and the roles within it. Placements with mainstream businesses provide a valuable opportunity to test job role fit, myth-bust assumptions and learn and receive feedback from their host employer and their career coach. Throughout the exploration phase, participants are also engaged in tailored career coaching sessions ensure they are ready for employment. The final career planning phase sees customers develop a job portfolio, create a career plan and be supported to secure paid employment.
We recognise that traditional employment models for people with disability do not consider the nuances and particulars of the individual, however in career coaching, customers have the opportunity to work with a professional in a program completely tailored to them. Importantly, there is no time-frame to work against, therefore customers and families do not feel any pressure to move at a pace that isn’t right for the customer. This innovative approach is entirely unique in the disability services sector, and the evidence both after the pilot and in the implementation phase is outstanding.
Activ’s career coaching program is now fully implemented in the Perth metropolitan region, and has been running in the South West region for the last six months. The impact on our customers’ capacity and independence both in and out of work has been overwhelmingly positive, with several customers already securing paid employment aligned to their skills and interests at businesses in their local communities.
Customer Jameson* is an exceptionally talented animator, however he rarely left his home and sometimes struggled to communicate and socialise with other people, preferring to communicate through online mediums. As a participant of the career coaching program, Jameson started to explore volunteer and work experience options in his local community, and is working with his career coach to get out of his comfort zone and away from his computer screen. In the long-term, Jameson would like to find a healthy balance of volunteering or working in the community, and turning his love for animation into a sustainable career. To do this, he’s also been learning skills to communicate with people all over the world, to hire voice actors to collaborate with on his newest project. Through career coaching, he was recently offered paid employment with a local digital media studio.
Liam is a recent high school graduate. After trying supported employment for several months after finishing school, Liam felt that it wasn’t the right fit for him, and began receiving career coaching services to explore his options.
Liam has been working with his career coach to further develop his social skills, after identifying that working at a golf course was something that he was interested in exploring.
Liam has successfully begun a work placement at Bunbury Golf Course, where his independent thinking and decision-making skills grow with every shift.
Customer Chloe is also a recent high school graduate, who was feeling lost and unsure of what she wanted to do after finishing school.
After entering Activ’s career coaching program, Chloe discovered that working with children was something that she wanted to explore.
She has not only secured a work placement at a local creche, but is also working with her career coach to ensure that she is truly job-ready, working on self-management and organisation, establishing routines, time management and building confidence.
Activ’s career coaching program has been developed with care and precision, in collaboration with the people whose lives will be impacted by its positive results. This personalised approach to supporting employment outcomes for people with disability is truly unique in the sector, and we are passionate about the program’s ability to make a meaningful difference.
Congratulations to the team on their nomination – you would be a worthy recipient of a WA Disability Support Award. At Activ we are proud to have people like our career coaches on our team. If you are interested in joining our team, check out our Careers page.
*customer name changed at the customer’s request.