Extra support for the transition from school to adult life

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Since she left high school, Nicola has dreamed of getting a job. Nicola has Asperger’s syndrome so requires a little extra support to help her build the skills that are so important when moving into the workplace.

One of the ways the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funds skills-building is through the School Leavers Employment Scheme (SLES), which was rolled out throughout NSW in July. SLES is not a structured program, instead it provides tailored funding for up to two years after finishing year 12 to support work-readiness in young people living with a disability.

Since leaving school, Nicola has spent her time wisely by using her Capacity Building Budget to get support to gain valuable workplace and social skills. This included learning woodwork and volunteering for a community group. Nicola also used this budget to fund supports from Challenge Community Services to assist her in preparing for her Learner’s licence test.

All her job preparation has paid off, and Nicola is excited to be starting a position at a hospital laundry. "I am excited to start my new job; I want to keep learning new skills and eventually earn my own money," she said.

Initially, Challenge support worker Kym will accompany Nicola until she feels confident in the position. Then, Kym will drop her off and pick her up each day. "I doubt Nicola will need my support at work for long as she is a confident young lady," Kym said. "I am excited and proud Nicola was offered this role as she has wanted to get a job for a long time."

SLES and the different NDIS budgets are just some of the topics discussed further in Challenge’s new ebook. The School Leaver’s Complete Guide to the NDIS is a step-by-step guide to making the transition from high school to adulthood with the NDIS. If you are finishing school and want to access SLES, the following is a guide to the steps you need to take.

Steps to Accessing SLES

  1. All year 12 students with a disability undertake a Functional Capacity Assessment to determine if they would benefit from SLES. This assessment is usually completed by the student’s school teacher.
  2. You will then need to determine your NDIS eligibility. The School Leaver’s Complete Guide to the NDIS provides a step-by-step guide to determining your NDIS eligibility and accessing the scheme.
  3. If you have been deemed eligible for both SLES and the NDIS eligibility an NDIS planner, Local Area Coordinator, or Support Coordinator will get in touch and explain your options for employment supports.
  4. If you are not deemed eligible for either scheme then you will be connected with Information, Linkages and Capacity Building.

 The supports SLES can fund may include:

  • work experience
  • job skills training
  • specific travel training

Whether you wish to further your education, get a job, travel, live independently, or get your driver’s licence, the NDIS can be used to support these personal endeavours. While the NDIS is not a replacement for mainstream services that all Australians have access to, it will, however, provide you with support to ensure that you can access these services effectively.

For more information on the types of supports the NDIS can fund for teenagers living with a disability, download the ebook:

CTA NDIS school leavers 01


*Names have been changed and photo is for illustrative purposes.

Author: Challenge Community Services

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About Challenge Community Services

60 years ago we were a small band of parents and friends seeking support services for our children with disabilities. Today, Challenge has grown to be one of the largest community support services in New South Wales. We provide support to over 2500 people from Albury to Lismore, Sydney, Dubbo, Tamworth and beyond. With over 600 staff, 85 of which have a disability, we strive to comply with and exceed all standards required under State and Federal Acts.
In the spirit of Reconciliation, Challenge Community Services acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this country, and their connection to land, water and community. We pay our respect to them, their cultures and customs, and to Elders both past and present.
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