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Innovative employment service opens doors in Liverpool

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n : IEWS Brian H o w e

RELEASEDeputy Prime Minister Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services BH155/92 13 July 1992


An employment service for people with an intellectual disability opened its doors in Liverpool today backed by the findings of an independent report commending the service on its innovative practices.

The Federal Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services, Brian Howe, who was opening Jobsupport's third Sydney office, said the report demonstrated the significant

contribution people with a disability were making in open employment.

Mr Howe said the Coopers and Lybrand evaluation of Jobsupport's Burwood office showed that one in three employers taking on staff through the service were requesting additional employees.

"Jobsupport currently has 116 clients placed in open employment and a retention rate of 88 per cent over the past 12 months," he said.

"This type of service has clearly put paid to the notion held by some people that people with an intellectual disability can't be productively employed in the open job market."

Mr Howe said the Coopers and Lybrand evaluation also revealed that the projected cost per client to government had the potential to fall over time to an equivalent of the pension.

"This compares favourably with other approaches to providing employment to people with a disability and of course the returns to the individual, to employers and to the community are inestimable," he said.

Jobsupport Director Phil Tuckerman said clients placed by the service through its Burwood and Artarmon offices were working across a range of industries and many had won employee awards based on their competency and productivity.

"Our success can be attributed largely to the use of field staff in an ongoing liaison and training role with clients and employers," Mr Tuckerman said.

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Social Justice Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Commonwealth-State Relations

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"Jobsupport staff locate a position in open employment for each client, matching individual abilities and interests and then perform the job themselves so they know exactly what it involves.

"When the client commences the job, Jobsupport staff are there working alongside, providing one-to-one on-the-job training. This support reduces over time as the client gains skills and confidence."

Mr Tuckerman said the Liverpool Office, which would have eight field staff, was aiming to place up to 30 clients in its first 12 months of operation.

"Jobsupport was funded by the Federal Government as a demonstration project in 1986 to test the feasibility of open employment for people with a disability," he said. "Results have exceeded all our expectations."

Contacts: Jane Robinson Glen Turner Phil Tuckerman

(06) 277 7680 (02) 225 3810 (02) 744 0244