APS Traineeships unlock career prospects for people with intellectual disability

Sat 30 March 2013

In December 2013, a cohort of trainees graduated with much excitement from the Australian Public Service’s traineeship program for people with intellectual disability. Completion of the traineeship was a dream come true for many of the graduates, as the 18-month program has given them the foundation to begin their careers.

The program was introduced by the Department of Social Services (DSS, formerly FaHCSIA) in 2009, with the aim of providing employment opportunities and economic security for people with an intellectual disability across Australia. AND has worked in collaboration with the Department to deliver the traineeship program, in which the trainees learn new skills and form professional relationships in a supportive workplace.

“Since joining the program, trainees have told us that their confidence and hopes for the future have improved,” said Renee Wallace, Diversity Advisor for DSS. “As one trainee said, ‘I’ve become more independent, and I now have something to look forward to.”

“People without disability can sometimes underestimate the skills and experience people with intellectual disability can bring to the workforce. I believe that by providing learning opportunities and effective supervision, people with intellectual disability can achieve a fulfilling career.”

Graduate Feebie was very proud to finish the training course, in which the participants completed a Certificate II in Business Administration, and experienced the Virtual Enterprise real life business environment, which provides trainees the opportunity to gain essential office administration skills.

"It was a real team effort right from the start," Feebie said. “Everyone was really friendly and understanding so I didn't feel any pressure. My course was really practical with just the right balance of theory and hands-on activities.”

Another graduate Korina couldn't believe her eyes when she saw the advertisement calling for applications, as she had always dreamed of a traineeship in the public service. She appreciated the length and thoroughness of the course, which supported her in developing her skills in the workplace.

Six of the nine graduates have now secured permanent employment. Two are continuing with study and one student has moved interstate.

“Our trainees with intellectual disability add great value to the Department,” said Renee Wallace, “and are supported to build their capabilities and take on new development opportunities.”

For more information about the APS Traineeships for people with intellectual disability please contact your relationship manager.

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