02-Dec-2022 | Employment Disability Support

Disability Employment Services - A Year in Review


Disability Employment Services (DES) is an Australian Government funded program designed to help people with disability find a job and stay in work. SYC delivers DES Employment Support Services in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, offering ongoing and personalised support to empower people to pursue opportunities for independence.

In the 2021-22 Financial Year…

  • 2,717 people were supported
  • 900 work placements
  • 3,770 instances of vocational support1
  • 200 instances of non-vocational support

At SYC, DES consultants work alongside people with disability and employers to create and maintain mutually beneficial work outcomes. SYC DES consultants focus on supporting participants’ skill development and work to find the right employment fit for each person. Once in work, SYC DES consultants work with both the participant and their employer, providing ongoing support.

When Katie* first started working with her DES consultant Sharmila, she had been unemployed for a long time. An introverted and friendly person, Katie lives with borderline personality disorder and can find it difficult to experience a sense of belonging. Katie said:

“Before working with SYC, I hadn’t ever worked and didn’t think I’d be able to. SYC helped me gain confidence and belief in myself.”

Sharmila worked alongside Katie, concentrating on helping her to grow her confidence while looking for an opportunity where Katie could find a sense of stability and connection. With Sharmila’s support, Katie was able to develop new skills and successfully gained a part-time job after attending an interview Sharmila had organised for her.

Sharmila continues to provide ongoing support to Katie, checking in with her regularly to see how she’s going. With her employer providing on-the-job training and flexible hours, Katie is thriving in her new role:

“I’ve seen a huge change in my confidence plus my life is much more stable now that I have a job.”

Sharmila says Katie is now working towards getting her license, is more motivated and has found that sense of belonging she had been looking for:

“When you meet a client like Katie for the first time, and you see that they don’t realise their potential and they don’t know what they could achieve, it’s incredibly rewarding seeing them at the other side of things when they’re achieving their goals.

Some clients, who are experiencing so many barriers, don’t think it’s possible to have a successful job interview or get into work or gain more independence, but a bit of encouragement and care makes all the difference. Katie for example, felt like she would never be able to get a job and her confidence was really low. With support and time, she’s achieved so much.”

During her first week at her new job, Katie reached out with a message of thanks to Sharmila:

“Thank you for all the support over this last year, I’m halfway through my first week here and I’m loving it. The people and the atmosphere are great, and I feel like I really fit in!

Coming into the year, I never would’ve thought I’d end up gaining employment, let alone somewhere as awesome as here (thank you so much for setting up the interview and giving that little push for me to attend).

I can see that you really believe in me and genuinely care about your clients. The support and motivation you offered helped me realise that I am valuable and capable, and working with you helped me gain the confidence I needed to get where I am right now, and I really appreciate it.”

*Pseudonyms are used


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