Leaving school and figuring out what to do next is a process most people go through, and it’s hard for everyone. If you’re considering getting some help because of a disability, there are a few extra things you need to think about. Here we have tried to give you a simple guide, to help you get started.

After you leave school, you might want to:

  • pursue further education
  • gain employment
  • undertake vocational training
  • participate in volunteering and/or other community based activities.

When deciding what you want to do, you should think about:

  • what is involved with each option
  • what each option might mean for you long-term
  • how you might access your chosen option
  • what kind of assistance you might need to achieve your goal

For example, if you like technology you might want to get a job in IT. Working backwards from that end goal, you will need training, either through TAFE or a university. To get training you will need to apply and get accepted. Before that, you might need a part time job to support yourself. To get to your part time job or to university you might need travel training. You can get support through each of these steps, so it’s important to work backwards from your end goal, break the process down into steps, and figure out what assistance you might need along the way.

Types of assistance you can access:

  • Job-ready training
  • Assistance finding employment
  • Assistance with independent living
  • Travel training

This is not a complete list, but it might get you thinking about what is possible.

What has changed for school leavers
Previously school leavers were supported through the My Future: My Life program. This program will continue to be available until the NDIS rolls out in your area, at which point you will move over to the NDIS. You can apply for NDIS school-leaver support up to six months before the NDIS rolls out in your area.

How the new system works
If you are eligible for the NDIS you can access School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES) during your final two years of schooling, or up to two years after leaving school. The earlier you start this process, the better your chances of getting all the support you need.
SLES is one of many supports available through the NDIS. As with all things NDIS, it is available if it is deemed reasonable and necessary for the school leaver. Because SLES is a support, it needs to be included in your NDIS plan. To access this, you need to contact your Local Area Coordinator to develop a plan. You can do this up to two years before you leave school.
Before you go to your meeting, you may wish to identify which supports you may need. For example:

  • Assistance in getting work experience while you are still at school, so you can identify what sort of work you might want to do
  • Undertaking job skills training, to improve your employability
  • Undertaking travel training, so you can get to and from work independently
  • Assistance in creating a CV or in applying for roles
  • Assistance with your application for further study or training
  • Assistance finding a community organisation or volunteer position

Your Local Area Coordinator will help you to think through the options, and help you to develop a plan that’s right for you.

If you would like to read more, to help you consider all your options, the Better Health Channel has created a very comprehensive resource, which can be found at www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ServicesAndSupport/postschool-options-for-people-with-a-disability.

If you’ve got a story about leaving school, or think you could offer some advice to other school leavers based on your own experience, we’d love to hear from you. Email us at [email protected]

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