Novel employment intervention increases job opportunities for disabled jobseekers

Finding a job can be tough at the best of times, but when you have a disability it can be an uphill battle, especially when fewer than 50 per cent of disabled people have a job.

Now, a novel employment intervention developed by the University of South Australia is increasing job opportunities for disabled jobseekers, boosting employability by 15-25 per cent.

Working with Maxima, a not-for-profit Disability Employment Services (DES), the mathematical tool automatically calculates priority skills required by disabled individuals to maximize their employment potential.

Lead researcher and UniSA PhD student, Ha Tran, says the intervention model addresses significant gaps in Australia's employment system for people with a disability.

Sustainable employment for people with a disability is a major concern in Australia, and despite intervention services only 48 per cent of people with a disability are employed, compared with 80 per cent of those without a disability."

Ha Tran, Study Lead Researcher and PhD Student, University of South Australia

"Most disabled jobseekers seek help from DES consultants for advice on which skills they should focus on to improve their employment chances. But it's impractical to improve all skills, so finding ways to prioritize is important.

"While DES consultants primarily use their experience to give advice, our tool uses a causality-based approach to provide recommendations that can lead to employment.

"By inputting DES data extracted from Maxima's business platform, we're able to construct a causal learning model to recommend the best employment interventions.

"Different jobseekers will have different interventions, personalized to fit the individuals' background and circumstances. So, while some people may need to improve their motivation to increase their job potential, others may be advised to improve their training or education.

"The model takes this all into account, processes it and generates the most effective recommendation to maximize employability for each person.

"Streamlining and improving employability and employment processes is always beneficial, and if we can make it easier for people with a disability, we're one step closer to being a more inclusive and responsive society."

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