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Overcoming Barriers to Employment

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					Overcoming Barriers to Employment
   for Disabled New Zealanders




       A Solutions Paper presented by
 Disabled Persons Assembly New Zealand to

    The Minister for Disability Issues,
   Employment and Social Development

               March 2009




               Prepared by Ross Brereton Consulting

                    1
Contents

Executive Summary                                             3

Summary of Recommendations                                    5

Introduction                                                  7

Disabled People and the Labour Market                         9

The Economy and the Labour Market                            12

The Barriers to Employment                                   13
     1.    Employer Awareness                                14
     2.    Government Funding Model of Vocational Services   16
     3.    The Physical Environment                          17
     4.    Education and Occupational Qualifications         18
     5.    Legislative Barriers to Work                      19

The Employers Perspective                                    19

Social Trends                                                20

Solutions to Overcoming the Barriers to Employment           21
      1.    A New National Strategic Plan                    21
      2.    A National Disability Awareness Campaign         22
      3.    An Employers’ Disability Network                 22
      4.    A New Funding Model for Vocational Services      23
      5.    A Successful Transition from School              25
      6.    A Lead Agency for Disability                     26




                                 2
Executive Summary

Despite legislative and government policy changes in more recent years, the
participation of disabled people in New Zealand‟s labour market remains
embarrassingly low. Disabled people are nearly twice as likely to be
unemployed compared to non disabled people.1

The Human Rights Act (1993) protecting disabled people from
discrimination in employment, the New Zealand Disability Strategy (2001),
the Labour Government‟s policy framework for vocational services,
Pathways to Inclusion (2001), and the repeal of the Disabled Persons
Employment Promotion Act (2007) have all contributed to improving the
situation of disabled people in employment, yet their participation rate in the
labour market remains comparatively low to other population groups.

The solutions paper has been developed from consultation with the disability
community and interest groups and organisations involved in disability and
employment. The paper, while acknowledging the likely impact of the
current recession on the New Zealand labour market, offers numerous
options to the Government and Minister for Disability Issues, Employment
and Social Development for overcoming the barriers to employment
identified by the disability community. Solutions need to be systemic and
sustainable in nature, building on the gains already made through the efforts
of disabled people, governments, employers and service providers. There are
hundreds of affirming employers and service providers that are already
offering solutions providing real jobs and careers and or supporting disabled
people into the labour market. They need to be acknowledged and further
encouraged.

The paper identifies two overriding barriers to employment for disabled
people:

       The misapprehension on the part of employers of the employment
        capabilities and contributions of disabled people resulting in
        unwillingness to employ a disabled person. This is a reflection of our
        society‟s devaluing and general low expectations of disabled people
        and also a reflection of the lack of employer awareness and
        knowledge about disabled people. New Government supported
1
    “Disability and the Labour Market in New Zealand in 2006”


                                                    3
           initiatives are required here to change employer perceptions.
           Government investment in a national disability awareness campaign
           promoting the abilities of disabled people would provide a positive
           pathway to changing community and employer perceptions and
           improving labour market participation rates and income levels of
           disabled people. The campaign can be built upon the reported success
           of the Like Minds, Like, Mine public education campaign.

       The inherent shortcomings of a flawed charitable based funding
        model of vocational services for disabled people. The model is based
        on partial and contributing funding to vocational service providers and
        generally rewards client outcomes and not the processes supporting
        those outcomes. This model places funding pressures on service
        providers who have to rely on charitable donations from the
        community in order to meet their contractual obligations to
        government. An urgent government review of the present funding
        model for vocational services and quality measures for these services
        is required.

The disability community calls on the new Minister of Employment,
Disability Issues and Social Development to drive new effective
Government policies and practices that over time will overcome these
barriers to employment and radically improve labour market participation
rates for disabled people. The Minister can play a key role in galvanising
policy collaboration across relevant government agencies. The Minister is
called upon to advocate on behalf of disabled people for our new
Government to invest in disabled people in the labour market, including
their sharing in any Government economic stimulus plans required in the
current economic climate to put New Zealanders into work. Disabled people
in the workforce means more tax revenue and less welfare spending.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities places
international expectations on governments to promote and protect the rights
of disabled people to ensure their right of citizenship and their right to
participation in all aspects of society.2 Disabled people are now part of an
international legal framework of human rights. Now that New Zealand has
ratified the Convention (September, 2008) the government will need to
rethink present plans and policies to ensure best practice in promoting

2
    “The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Optional Protocol”, May 2008


                                                     4
employment opportunities for disabled people. The eight guiding principles
of the Convention must be embedded in all government plans and policies
impacting on disabled people in the labour market. Real employment gives
disabled people dignity and status and has a huge impact in terms of their
inclusion and true citizenship.

The Minister is called upon to develop and implement in partnership with
the disability community a new national strategic plan for vocational
outcomes and services for disabled people. The plan needs to provide a new
focus and impetus, a multi faceted approach with the aim of improving
labour market participation rates and the income levels of disabled people.
The plan will demonstrate the government‟s commitment to disabled people.
Central to the government‟s plan would be a national disability awareness
campaign similar to and built upon the reportedly successful Like Minds,
Like Mine campaign that has overtime improved societal attitudes and
reduced the discrimination towards people with mental illness.

The Disabled Persons Assembly New Zealand (DPA), while acknowledging
the new National Government‟s reluctance to establish a lead agency with
responsibility for disability issues at this time, strongly supports the
recommendation of the Social Services Committee, September 2008. DPA
firmly believes that such an agency would provide a more cost effective
coordination of government policy and programmes and public education
about disabled people. A new structure for disability services should be
explored similar to those in Australia and the United Kingdom. DPA calls on
the Minister and the Government to reconsider the Committee‟s
recommendation.

Summary of Recommendations

1.    The disability community is represented as one of the independent
      mechanisms to promote, protect and monitor implementation of the
      United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
      in partnership with Government.

2.    The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with
      Disabilities and its General principles, along with The New Zealand
      Disability Strategy, form the basis of all future Government policy



                                     5
     initiatives aimed at improving the participation rates and income
     levels of disabled people in the labour market.

3.   The interests of disabled people are promoted and protected within the
     Government‟s fiscal, economic stimulus plans and any policy
     initiatives arising out of the Jobs Summit held in Auckland on 27
     February 2009.

4.   The Government funds a national disability awareness campaign
     similar to and built upon the Like Minds Like Mine campaign to
     promote public and employer awareness and understanding about
     disabled people and the abilities of disabled people.

5.   The Government continues to support the establishment of an
     Employers‟ Disability Network and provides ongoing support as
     required once the Network is fully established.

6.   State sector and Local Body Chief Executives are required to commit
     to their obligations under the State Sector Act to promote, develop and
     monitor equal employment opportunities for disabled people.

7.   The Ministry of Social Development‟s funding model for vocational
     services for disabled people is urgently reviewed to ensure that
     funding measures reflect the true cost of service provision, effectively
     builds on the capacity of the industry to deliver professional services
     and effectively responds to the individual vocational aspirations and
     abilities of disabled people. There is also a need to develop better
     quality measures for these services.

8.   The Support Funds initiative, administered by Workbridge, is
     extended in order to maximize the availability of work- related
     supports to disabled people and employers. At the same time other
     employer incentives should be considered.

9.   The Government and Local Government Bodies implements the
     recommendations of the Human Rights Commission‟s report, „The
     Accessible Journey‟.




                                     6
10.   The Government and Local Government Bodies provide all public
      information in disability-friendly formats at no extra costs.

11.   The Government increases the investment in public education of
      regular schools to reduce the barriers to inclusion for disabled children
      and young disabled people.

12.   Reporting on inclusiveness and accessibility of facilities is
      incorporated in all Education Review Office and Tertiary Education
      Commission reviews.

13.   Measuring the progress of disabled students with NCEA and
      overcoming barriers to this progress.

14.   An urgent review of the Ministry of Social Development transition
      services for disabled students should occur, in association with school
      transition staff. This needs to focus on the best ways to support
      schools with transition of ORRS and non ORRS funded disabled
      students.

15.   To improve coordination of transition for disabled students, Senior
      Officials from the MoE, GSE, MSD and other key stakeholders meet
      regularly at national level.

16.   Complete a review of the implementation of Kia Orite Achieving
      Equity: NZ Code of Practice for an Inclusive Tertiary Education
      Environment for Students with Impairments, within Tertiary
      Education Institutions.

17.   The present abatement provisions applied to the Invalids Benefits are
      reviewed so that they do not act as a barrier to open employment for
      disabled people.

Introduction

The right of disabled people to work and to be engaged in meaningful
employment, on an equal basis as others, is now part of a global
commitment recognised in international law. The United Nations
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2008), Article 27,


                                      7
commits States Parties to improve the opportunities for disabled people to
live their lives on the same basis as others.3 New Zealand ratified the
Convention in September 2008 and is now bound by the Convention‟s
articles. The Convention is part of the international legal framework of
human rights and protections. The international expectation on New Zealand
to implement the present Convention will be high, primarily due to New
Zealand‟s significant role in the development of the Convention. There is
also a built up expectation within New Zealand. The international
expectation on monitoring the implementation of the Convention is quite
different to other United Nations Conventions in that one or more
independent organisations must be included in the monitoring process.4
There is a high expectation that the disability community will be represented
as part of the monitoring mechanism along, most likely, with the Human
Rights Commission.

The New Zealand Disability Strategy, Making a World of Difference
Whakanui Oranga (2001), Objective 4, is to “Provide opportunities in
employment and economic development for disabled people”. The aim is to
enable disabled people to work in the open labour market in accordance with
human rights principles and maintain an adequate income.5 There are 16
specific Actions that describe what disabled people and the government
want to achieve in order to effectively realise the aim and objective relating
to employment and economic development for disabled people. These action
requirements remain current and continue to reflect the aspirations of
disabled people. The Strategy has played an important part in shaping
government policy and commitment to advancing employment opportunities
for disabled people, including the long overdue repeal of the Disabled
Persons Employment and Promotion Act.

The right to work is not only a fundamental human right; it is a central part
of a person‟s “inherent dignity and individual autonomy”.6 Employment
positively affects a person‟s status, dignity, independence and living
standards. These principles are currently reflected in government policy,
“Access to employment is an important factor affecting the well being of
individuals and their families”.7 The aim of government policy Pathways to

3
  Same as 2 above, p.19
4
  Same as 2 above, p.25, Article 33 (2)
5
  “The New Zealand Disability Strategy”, April 2001, p.17
6
  Same as 2 above, General Principles, p.5, Article 3
7
  “Pathways to Inclusion”, September 2001


                                                   8
Inclusion is to increase participation of disabled people in employment and
in communities.

DPA, as the collective voice of disabled New Zealanders, has prepared this
solutions paper on overcoming barriers to employment for disabled people
in light of the expectations and obligations of the new Convention and in
light of a new incoming National Government. The paper is intended to offer
systemic solutions to employment barriers while recognizing the affects of
the present economic climate on the labour market.

Disabled people are a big part of the New Zealand community representing
17% of the population. Disabled people continue to be disadvantaged in
many aspects of New Zealand society, particularly in the area of
employment.

DPA looks forward to working closely with the new Minister for Disability
Issues, Employment and Social Development in the development of
Government policies that will overcome present and future barriers to
employment for disabled people. The will of the new Minister and the new
Government to have a strong focus on overcoming the systemic barriers to
employment for disabled people is most critical to ensuring positive
changes. “Nothing about us without us,” is an important principle of
Government‟s policy development in respect to disabled people.8

Recommendation

The disability community is represented as one of the independent
mechanisms to promote, protect and monitor implementation of the United
Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in partnership
with Government.

Disabled People and the Labour Market

The Disability Surveys conducted by Statistics New Zealand 1996, 2001 and
2006 is the most comprehensive source of official statistics on disabled
people in the labour market. Disabled people essentially experience poor
labour market outcomes in comparison to other population groups.9 Less

8
    DPA, “Our Vision”, 2009-2012
9
    Same as 1 above, p.6


                                      9
than half (45%) of disabled people of working age are in the workforce
compared to over three quarters (77%) of non disabled people.




Disabled people consistently record lower rates of labour market
participation over this period of 10 years. The table below shows that there
have been marginal comparative changes in participation rates despite
numerous legislative and policy initiatives.

The Disability Surveys also reveal other aspects of how disabled people are
disadvantaged in the labour market:
    Disabled people are less likely to be in highly paid or highly skilled
      occupations.
    Lower rates of labour market participation for disabled people are
      more pronounced for women, Maori and older people.
    People with intellectual, psychiatric and psychological disabilities are
      less likely to be in the workforce.
    Few people outside the labour market report work related reasons for
      not participating in paid work.

Disabled people do compare less favorably than non-disabled people in
every level of educational qualification. However, education on its own
appears to be insufficient to explain the labour market disadvantage
experienced by disabled people.


                                      10
Anecdotal evidence also reveals that disabled people are less likely than non
disabled people to change careers and change employers. Transitioning from
work to work as an accepted pathway for career development is more
problematic for disabled people. The reasons for this perceived barrier to
career development for disabled people may include; the need to maintain
job security, the need to change work locations and re-establish support
networks, less confidence in pursuing further education, the share effort
required in securing alternative employment and the feelings of loyalty to
the employer. This is also some what reflected in the Disability Surveys
findings that disabled people are less likely to be in highly paid and highly
skilled occupations. Further evidenced based research in the area of disabled
people and work transition is required.

The relatively poor labour market outcomes experienced by disabled people
are a reflection of a society that is yet to truly value the lives of disabled
people and the real contribution disabled people can make to New Zealand‟s
workforce. Disabled people continue to be denied their right to employment.
The new government is called upon to develop and implement new policy
initiatives that will lead to better labour market outcomes for disabled people
in line with the recently ratified Disability Convention. The right of disabled
people to participate in the labour market is recognised in the new
Convention, Article 27, about Work and Employment, stating, “State parties
recognise the rights of people with disabilities to work on an equal basis
with others; this includes the right to the opportunity to gain a living by
work freely chosen and accepted in a labour market and work environment
that is open, inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities.”

Recommendation

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
and its General principles along with The New Zealand Disability Strategy
form the basis of all future Government policy initiatives aimed at
improving the participation rates and income levels of disabled people in the
labour market.




                                      11
The Economy and the Labour Market

The New Zealand labour market is, like most countries, being adversely
affected by the downturn in the economy and the global financial crisis.
Household labour force surveys show the labour market softening as a result
of the economic environment. The unemployment rate has reached a 5 year
high of 4.2% as shown in the table below.10




Forecasters generally expect rising unemployment rates of between 6-8% in
2009/2010. The Reserve Bank governor Alan Bollard says, “the global
economy is now in recession. Unemployment rates will certainly continue to
rise.”11 Business leaders expect a downturn in activity in this period. A surge
of liquidations of Companies in certain sectors has been reported by the
media in recent months. Tough times are predicted for the next two to three
years.

The new Government is introducing a number of measures to endeavour to
safeguard the New Zealand economy and labour market. The Government‟s
fiscal stimulus initiatives include: infrastructure projects, small business
relief package providing extra cash flows for businesses, underwriting the
10
     “Department of Labour, Household Labour Force Survey”, December 2008
11
     “The Press”, 31 January 2009


                                                  12
banks, investment in the broadband network and personal tax cuts. The
government is also holding a top level Jobs Summit in Auckland.

The prospect of rising unemployment raises real fears among the disability
community that disabled people, as a vulnerable population group, risk
being laid off and or being condemned to the back of the job queue. Service
providers are already reporting this happening.

Disabled people‟s rights to work and employment, in line with The
Disability Convention, must be promoted and protected in the new
Government‟s policy initiatives to safeguard the New Zealand economy and
labour market. Policy and funding measures should not just go to those
population groups with the most political influence.

It is in the interest of all New Zealanders to have Disabled people achieving
more and better employment opportunities. It makes good economic sense to
invest in disabled people, representing 11% of the New Zealand workforce,
so that they can contribute to the wealth of the nation. Disabled people
continue to be an untapped potential. Government leadership is required for
this investment in disabled people in the labour market to be effectively
realised.

Recommendation

The interests of disabled people are promoted and protected within the
Government‟s fiscal, economic stimulus plans and any policy initiatives
arising out of the Jobs Summit held in Auckland on 27 February 2009.

The Barriers to Employment

High numbers (55%) of disabled people remain out of work despite
government policy initiatives and despite low unemployment rates enjoyed
in recent years. There are genuine fears within the disability community that
this figure may grow with the present recession.

The issue of high unemployment rates for disabled people is fundamentally
an issue for the New Zealand Government and the community. It is not a
disabled persons issue alone. Disabled people remain largely undervalued by
the community and by government policies.


                                     13
Employer Awareness

Lack of employer awareness and understanding about disabled people and
the abilities of disabled people is the major barrier in taking on someone
with a disability. Employers perceive obstacles to employing a disabled
person including: occupational and safety issues, training and modification
costs, less productivity and performance. These perceptions that deny
disabled people employment opportunities can be described as covert
discrimination. These perceptions are a reflection of the community
devaluing disabled people and the low expectations of disabled people.
Employers and the community at large do not have the realization of the
abilities of disabled people. Employers do not have exposure to the range of
disabled people who are in the workforce. New Government and private
sector initiatives are required to help change these perceptions of disabled
people and to help build inclusive communities. A publicly funded national
disability awareness campaign and the establishment of the Employers‟
Disability Network are two initiatives that will have undoubted success in
promoting positive public and employer perceptions about disabled people.

These perceptions, although real, are not justified by international research
and the experience of the hundreds of New Zealand employers who do
employ disabled people. Employers of small to middle sized businesses are
seen by service providers as less sympathetic than larger employers, as they
are likely to be less informed about the employment potential of disabled
people. This is a major issue as 90% of New Zealand businesses employ
between 5-20 employees.

The public sector is failing to provide a „shop window‟ model to the private
sector in the employment of disabled people, despite its obligations under
section 6 of the State Sector Act 1988. Its performance has been relatively
poor by its own analysis and has not lived up to the expectations of the
disability community. Staff surveys depict concerns by disabled employees
over recruitment, selection and support processes. Public sector Chief
Executives must commit to their obligations to promote, develop and
monitor equal employment opportunities for disabled people.12



12
     “The State Sector” Act, 1988


                                      14
The Mainstream Supported Employment Programme does help to build
some awareness about disabled people within the public sector. The
programme facilitates the placement of people with significant disabilities
into created positions within the State Sector. Each year at any one time
around 200 placements are made in full or part-time two year created
positions in the state sector including public sector departments, selected
crown entities, tertiary education, schools, hospitals and District Health
Boards. The aim of Mainstream is for people to gain valuable work
experience and training with a good chance of becoming less dependent on a
benefit and more self sufficient in the long term. The programme continues
to have relative success and could be extended to include Local Government
Bodies.

The Human Rights Commission‟s new initiative, National Conversation
About Work, is aimed at promoting and protecting equal employment
opportunities. in New Zealand. The Commission is of the view that we need
a new strategy for EEO to overcome barriers to work, to reach rural and
provincial areas, to talk to small and medium sized businesses.13 The
Commission is concerned that while New Zealand is a world leader at
promoting fairness at work yet disabled people remain the most vulnerable
population n the labour market. Disabled people and EEO will be a major
focus of this initiative over the next 18 months. The Commission is hopeful
that through this initiative a more focused approach to EEO policy and
legislative approaches that help employers value diversity in the workforce.

There is little support in this country for the introduction of mandatory quota
systems used predominantly in European countries. Employers there are
legislatively required to employ a certain percentage or number of disabled
people as part of their workforce. Some countries do contend that employers
are more accepting and understanding about disabled people with quota
systems. A system built around compliance to human rights protections,
employment codes and practices and public awareness is a more preferred
option to promote equal employment opportunities for disabled people.

Recommendations

The Government funds a national disability awareness campaign similar to
and built upon the Like Minds, Like Mine campaign to promote public and

13
     “The New Zealand Human Rights Commission”, website


                                                15
employer awareness and understanding about disabled people and the
abilities of disabled people.

The Government continues to support the establishment of an Employers‟
Disability Network and provides ongoing support as required once the
Network is fully established.

State sector and Local Body Chief Executives are required to commit to
their obligations under the State Sector Act to promote, develop and monitor
equal employment opportunities for disabled people.

Government Funding Model of Vocational Services

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) provides the bulk of the
funding for vocational services for disabled people. Government funding
contributions have been adjusted in recent years in line with the Pathways to
Inclusion aim of increasing the participation of disabled people in
employment and in communities. Funding is given to national disability
organisations and in the main to community service providers to provide
consultative job placement and support, supported employment, day support
services, life skills training and transition from school programmes. Service
providers work hard to find and support disabled people into the labour
market.

The present funding model however, compared to the generic services
provided by Work and Income and recruitment agencies and the funding
model of the Accident Compensation Commission (ACC), is essentially a
charitable partial funding model relying on the community contributing to
services. Service providers contend that the present funding model and
contract arrangement measures need adjusting to reflect the true costs of
vocational services and work that is done to support disabled people into
work options. Waiting lists can be long and the required assistance is not
always available. The effort of service providers to find meaningful and
sustainable jobs and career paths for disabled people is not fully recognised.
The required adjustments include: the recognition of pre-employment
training, transition and post placement work, job progression of disabled
people, programmes that address social barriers to work, realistic funding
levels and criteria for the Support Funds initiative administered by
Workbridge, further capacity building industry initiatives to ensure the
professional engagement of staff with disabled people and employers,

                                      16
funding of more evidenced based research and transition programmes
including work experience opportunities for disabled secondary school
students. Also there is the need to include quality measures for these
services.




Recommendations

The Ministry of Social Development‟s funding model for vocational services
for disabled people is urgently reviewed to ensure that funding measures
reflect the true cost of service provision, effectively builds on the capacity of
the industry to deliver professional services and effectively responds to the
individual vocational aspirations and abilities of disabled people. There is
also a need to develop better quality measures for these services.

The Support Funds initiative, administered by Workbridge, is extended in
order to maximize the availability of work-related supports to disabled
people and employers. At the same time other employer incentives should be
considered.

The Physical Environment

Problems with getting to and from work, accessing the work environment
and having access to relevant and timely information can all affect the
employment aspirations of disabled people. These are all infrastructural
issues that can be overcome over time through Government policy
interventions.

The recently published Human Rights Commission‟s report, The Accessible
Journey, highlighted the shortcomings of New Zealand‟s public transport
system.14 The findings of this report are a poor reflection of how the right to
an accessible environment is denied to disabled people. Implementing the
recommendations of this report at both national and local level will have a
significant positive impact on the employment of disabled people.

Recommendations

14
     “The New Zealand Human Rights Commission report, „The Accessible Journey‟”


                                                  17
The Government and Local Government Bodies implements the
recommendations of the Human Rights Commission‟s report, „The
Accessible Journey‟.

The Government and Local Government Bodies provide all public
information in disability-friendly formats at no extra costs.

Education and Occupational Qualifications

The journey to work and meaningful employment requires an education
system that adequately prepares people for a full life including participation
in the workforce. The right to education and life long learning on the basis of
equal opportunity and inclusion is a fundamental human right. (17) Sadly
disabled children and young disabled people face barriers to their learning
and participation, particularly at their local school. Capped funding,
unwelcoming attitudes at school and lack of teacher education about
disability are some of the real barriers experienced by disabled people and
their families. The full development of human potential and sense of dignity
of the individual is compromised by the present lack of policy initiatives to
overcome these barriers to learning at school and in the community.
Government policy initiatives are required to increase the investment in the
public education of disabled people to ensure their equal access to local
schools, smooth transition from schools and continued access to tertiary and
community education.

Recommendations

The Government increases the investment in public education of regular
schools to reduce the barriers to inclusion for disabled children and young
disabled people.

Reporting on inclusiveness and accessibility of facilities is incorporated in
all Education Review Office and Tertiary Education Commission reviews.

Measuring the progress of disabled students with NCEA and overcoming
barriers to this progress.




                                      18
Complete a review of the implementation of Kia Orite Achieving Equity:
NZ Code of Practice for an Inclusive Tertiary Education Environment for
Students with Impairments, within Tertiary Education Institutions.

Legislative Barriers to Work

The present Social Securities Act abatement provisions for Invalid Benefits
and the minimum wage exemption can be a disincentive to work for disabled
people.15 Disabled people can lose their entitlement to the Invalids Benefit if
they work 15 or more hours a week. The benefit system applied to disabled
people is too inflexible and does not recognise those who realistically will
most likely never be in the workforce for long periods. The system does not
reflect the true cost for disabled people who move into open employment.
The minimum wage exemption process should be reviewed and closely
monitored to ensure that disabled people are not disadvantaged.

Recommendation

The present abatement provisions applied to the Invalids Benefits are
reviewed so that they do not act as a barrier to open employment for
disabled people.

The Employers Perspective

The availability of employment opportunities through job creation and
successful businesses is the best guarantee of employment for disabled
people.16 Government legislation should not hinder the process of job
creation. Employers want skilled, highly productive, low maintenance and
hassle free employees. Employers want problem solving timely advice,
sometimes immediate, from people who they can trust.

Employers are predominately small business (5-20 employees) and so their
knowledge and understanding of employer obligation and employee rights is
low compared to the larger employers. They can have misconceptions of the
implications of employment and human rights laws relating to disabled
people, about the productivity of disabled people and of the costs involved.
These misconceptions can have a disincentive effect in employing disabled

15
     “The Social Securities Act,” 1864
16
     “Business New Zealand” comment


                                         19
people. Small employers are more likely to genuinely find work
modifications for disabled people harder to afford without Government
assistance where there are real dollar costs such as computer and technology
costs. The Support Funds assistance has been invaluable for workplace
modifications without the burden to employers.

Employers want to be assured that taking on a disabled person can bring its
own rewards and that it makes good business sense. Employers can be
reassured from both overseas and New Zealand examples that employing
disabled people has unexpected spin-offs and does not involve the kinds of
expenditure employers might anticipate. Disabled people can bring rewards
to an organisation in terms of employee loyalty and increased productivity
and profitability levels.
Employer organisations like Business New Zealand are aware that what is
now needed is persuasive education, encouragement and guidance so that
more employers can understand the benefits from employing disabled people
and that often small workplace adjustment is required to make employment
possible. Employer organisations can help with this with the newly
established New Zealand Employers‟ Disability Network and The Equal
Employment Opportunities Trust‟s Employer Group but conveying the same
messages to the public at large is also important.

Social Trends

Disabled people are much more visible in society today. The institutions that
denied disabled people from inclusive communities have been closed.
Disabled people remain attached to their families and are generally more
included and participate more fully in society. Disabled people want the
same career and employment opportunities as non disabled people.

The focus now on inclusive education in schools has meant that young
disabled people largely have the expectations and aspirations of their peers
with regard to employment. Government funded vocational services for
disabled people have increased their contracted outcomes in recent years.
Supported employment is now embedded in service provision for
employment opportunities.

Technological advancements in recent years, particularly in phone and
computer technologies, have greatly assisted deaf, hearing impaired, vision
impaired and blind people. Voice technology on mobiles has enabled some

                                      20
blind people to make use of mobiles. Video technology on mobiles may not
only help to remove isolation for deaf people but assist in remedying the
lack of interpreters.

Despite these positive trends the educational outcomes of disabled people
still do not compare favourably with non disabled people. Disabled people
are less likely to participate in every level of educational qualification.
The Government manifesto to establish more satellite classes and special
schools is hopefully not a signal to move away from inclusive education.
Despite changes to the Building and Housing Act for access to buildings,
people engaged in new buildings and renovations/refurbishments still
actively resist these requirements. The perception and acceptability of
people with mental illness has improved through the „Like Minds, Like
Mine‟ campaign, but perceptions take time to change. Employer perceptions
remain largely unchanged unless they have employed and had positive
employment experience with disabled people.

Solutions to Overcoming the Barriers to Employment

The analysis of disabled people in the labour market, economic and social
trends, and the perceived barriers to employment, offer a number of possible
solutions to overcoming the barriers to employment for disabled people. The
key solutions presented below have largely already been referred to, but are
now summarised.

A New National Strategic Plan

The new Minister for Disability Issues, in partnership with the disability
community, is asked to develop and drive the implementation of a new
national strategic plan for vocational outcomes and vocational services for
disabled people. The aim of the plan is to over time radically improve the
labour market participation rates and income levels for disabled people.
The new plan will:
    Demonstrate the Government‟s commitment
    Provide a new focus and impetus for positive change
    Align with the international Disability Convention and New Zealand
      Disability Strategy
    Acknowledge the special relationship between Maori and the Crown
      under the Treaty of Waitangi


                                     21
        Have a multi-faceted approach with numerous initiatives
        Have collaborative support across all relevant government agencies

A National Disability Awareness Campaign

The reported success of the Like Minds, Like Mine campaign improving
public attitudes about mental illness is evidence of how influential national
public education programmes can be.17 The wider disability community is
also convinced that a campaign built upon the existing campaign will help to
build positive public and employer perceptions about disabled people and
the abilities of disabled people.
Lack of awareness and understanding is the primary barrier to employment
for disabled New Zealanders. A national campaign must be a Government
priority, as a systemic approach to attitude change and as an investment in
the economic potential of disabled people.

The national campaign will need to be developed in partnership with the
Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand and the wider disability
community. The way it is presented, acknowledging the respective
information needs of disabled people, will be as important as the campaign
itself.

An Employers’ Disability Network

The newly established Employers‟ Disability Network, as its influence
grows, should increasingly be able to give employers helpful guidance on
employing disabled individuals. Employers give knowledge and practical
support to other employers to help resolve issues for them. Comparative
Employer Forums in the United Kingdom and Australia help promote the
business case for employing disabled people, working collaboratively with
employers and clients and facilitate an employer network for information
sharing and mutual education. The Forums also publish specialist
publications such as the Manager‟s guide to working with disabled
employees. Workbridge has recently produced a New Zealand version.

A recent UK initiative has seen business leaders joining forces in a unique
taskforce launched by the Employers‟ Forum on Disability. The aim of the
Business Taskforce on Accessible technology is to ensure technology
17
     “Like Minds, Like Mine Campaign”, Website


                                                 22
delivers its promise of making it easier to employ, and do business with,
disabled people. The Australian Employers‟ Network on Disability website
„Disability Confidence‟ was developed to assist employers make their
business more inclusive for disabled people as employees and customers.
The aim of the website is to build employer skills and confidence in
employing disabled people. A research study in 2002 of 600 Australian
businesses found that disabled employees had average or superior attendance
records, average or superior safety records, lower recruitment costs, and
equal or greater productivity costs.18

A New Funding Model for Vocational Services

The present funding model, despite the improved levels of funding in recent
years, is essentially flawed based on partial contributing funding to
vocational service providers. The model is anomalous and discriminatory in
comparison to ACC and generic services.

The funding model needs to be urgently reviewed to ensure that it meets the
true cost of service provision and the aim of improving the participation rate
and income levels of disabled people in the labour market.

The Support Funds‟ assistance has proved invaluable for technology and
other workplace modification for disabled people, without the cost burden to
employers. The table below depicts the demand for equipment and other
workplace modifications for disabled people.




18
     “The Australian Employers‟ Network on Disability, Disability Confidence”, Website


                                                    23
Support Funds offset a wide range of work-related disability costs,
including: transport, job coaches, interpreters and productivity allowances.
The Support Funds‟ initiative needs to continue and be extended. Its
availability has proved vital to improving employment opportunities for
disabled people.

Supported employment is now an internationally recognised model of best
practice in matching disabled people with their chosen work choices and
careers. It emphasizes a natural supports approach in encouraging
workmates to support disabled people in the workplace. It emphasizes a
long-term commitment to the disabled person, helping them improve their
current conditions of employment or helping them transition into alternative
employment options.

The Training Workforce Development Fund, administered by the New
Zealand Federation of Vocational and Support Services, should also


                                      24
continue. The Fund enables staff of vocational service providers to apply for
funding to assist them with skills training and qualifications. The
development of the Certificate and Diploma in Employment Support is an
important initiative to help ensure that the industry offers professional
services to engage with disabled people and employers.

A Successful Transition from School

Considerable attention has been focused on the successful transition of
disabled students into further education, employment and other community
settings. The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) has developed
guidelines and funded specific transition services for disabled students.
Anecdotal evidence from some schools indicates a range of concerns about
these services and a review of these services is urgently required. Various
literature reviews and projects have been completed in NZ on the transition
of disabled students. The Best Practice Framework for Transition of
Disabled Students, developed as part of the Wayne Francis Charitable Trust
Transition Project, provides a structure for enhancing transition of disabled
students. This is being used by Ministry of Education (MoE) to develop
Operational Guidelines for Transition of Disabled Students, for Schools.
Other initiatives have also been completed around NZ. However, there is a
lack of coordination between MSD, MoE and other key stakeholders.
Appendix 1 provides more detail.

The following key recommendations need attention by the Ministers to
achieve the successful transition of disabled students:
1.    An urgent review of the Ministry of Social Development transition
      services for disabled students should occur, in association with school
      transition staff. This needs to focus on the best ways to support
      schools with transition of ORRS and non ORRS funded disabled
      students.

2.       To improve coordination of transition for disabled students, Senior
         Officials from the MoE, GSE, MSD and other key stakeholders need
         to meet regularly at national level, to:
        Implement ways to collaborate around transition of disabled students.
        Share their resources, and
        Develop solutions to overcome the transition issues identified in
         Appendix?


                                       25
     In terms of MSD, this needs to include Work and Income and those
     responsible for the MSD funded transition services.


3.       Transition staff in Schools and MSD funded transition services should
         receive consistent professional development training to build their
         capacity to implement the Best Practice Framework and ensure
         disabled students become an active part of transition planning.


4.       The MoE and GSE should be supported to implement the Operational
         Guidelines for Transition of Disabled Students consistently across all
         schools in New Zealand.

A Lead Agency for Disability

The Social Services Committee in their report (September 2008) considered
“that the lack of any single overarching entity with funding responsibility,
and accountability for disability issues is the most important issue we have
discovered in this inquiry.”19 The Committee also supported establishing an
independent disability commission if the lead agency had not achieved
significant change within six years.

The new Government has a real opportunity to now explore a new structure
for disability services. There are useful overseas models that appear to be
working well. Western Australian has a Disability Discrimination Act, a
Minister for Disability and a Disability Commission. The Commission is
governed by a Board representing government and the disability sector. The
Commission has statutory responsibility for coordinating all government
policies and programmes in all areas that affect the rights and needs of
disabled people. The feasibility of applying a similar structure for New
Zealand disability services should be explored by the Government in this
term of office.




19
  “Inquiry into the Quality of Care and Service Provision for People with disabilities”, Report of the Social
Services Committee, September 2008


                                                     26
Appendix 1

 The Status of Transition of Disabled Students from Secondary School
 into Further Education, Employment and Other Community Settings

In recent years considerable attention has been centred on the transition of
students from Secondary School. Some of this has focused on the successful
transition of disabled student into further education, employment and other
community settings such as supported living and community participation.

This section provides an overview of some of the key initiatives that have
occurred and the important issues that have been identified in relation to the
successful transition of disabled students from secondary school. It also
provides an overview of issues that DPA may wish to advocate on in the
future.

1. Ministry of Social Development Guidelines for Transition of
   Disabled Students
In October 2006 the Standards and Monitoring Services (SAMS) was
contracted by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to provide this
transition guideline relating to disabled students.

This contains similar findings to those outlined in other research. This
guideline:
(a) Indicates in North America, Europe and Australasia the emergence of a
    new generation of disabled young people who have no desire to
    participate in the traditional “sheltered” work.
(b) States that in New Zealand transition services are provided in various
    ways and have meant different things to different people.
(c) Includes a real focus on self determination of disabled students within the
    transition planning process.
(d) Consists of key transition service principles, values and components;
    student/family expectations and provider standards for these transition
    services. Much of this information reflects other national and
    international literature discussed in later sections.
(e) Shows that in many countries, transition programmes commence 3 or 4
    years before the disabled student leaves school.




                                      27
The Ministry of Social Development currently funds transition services in
the last year of school for ORRS funded disabled students. The aim of these
services is to achieve increased participation in employment and/or
increased community participation. Prior to funding these services the
Ministry of Social Development had funded some transition pilots
supporting disabled secondary school students in rural and urban centres.

Supported employment, day services and other agencies such as CCS
Disability Action are currently contracted to provide these transition
services. One of their primary aims is to support schools with the transition
of these disabled students.

Anecdotal evidence from schools indicates that the development of these
services has been problematic. For example, various schools in Christchurch
are reporting that some of these services have:
 Been too focused on employment rather than taking a more holistic
   approach to transition.
 Have lacked in-depth understanding of the needs of some disabled
   students.
 Built up an expectation about getting students jobs that they have not
   been able to deliver on.
 Found that providing a transition service in the final year of school is too
   late.

These schools are calling for an urgent review of these MSD funded
transition service contracts.

2. Ministry of Education Special Education Policy Guidelines

These policy guidelines include this Special Education principle relevant to
transition:
7.     Young children and students with special education needs will have
       access to a seamless education from the time that their needs are
       identified through to post- school options.

They also state that this principle will be visible in practice when:
      Admission and transition procedures enable young children and
      students to move successfully from one education setting to another,
      or to a workplace.



                                     28
The guidelines also outline these National Education Goals which are also
relevant to transition:
1. The highest standards of achievement, through programmes which enable
    all students to realise their full potential as individuals and to develop the
    values needed to become full members of NZ society.
2. Equality of educational opportunity for all NZers, by identifying and
    removing barriers to achievement.

2. Review of National and International Literature on Transition of
   Disabled Students

Various literature reviews and projects have been completed in New Zealand
on the transition of disabled students. They include:

(a) The Wayne Francis Charitable Trust Transition Project for Disabled
    Students.
(b) A Review of Education for Adults with Intellectual Disability Including
    Transition to Adulthood completed by Donald Beasley Institute.
(c) A Literature Review of Transition to Adult Life, Interagency
    Collaboration and Person Centred Planning completed by Donald
    Beasley Institute.
(d) The Young People Designing Their Own Futures Project for CCS
    Disability Action in Christchurch.
(e) The Ministry of Social Development Guidelines for Transition of
    Disabled Students.
(f) The Diploma of Supported Employment: Transition from School to
    Work Module written by Tautoko Services for the Universal College of
    Learning.

The associated literature reviews highlight the following key points:

General Transition Findings
(a) Transition planning should start to occur no later than the age of fourteen
    years.
(b) People involved in transition planning should include: The student, their
    parents/caregivers, teachers, transition coordinators, vocational
    specialists, external disability support staff/advocates, guidance
    counsellors, funding representatives, adult service providers and peers.




                                       29
(c) Secondary school transition programmes should be integrated within the
    structure of general education, rather than as a separate, parallel
    programme.
(d) One of the big questions is who should coordinate transition planning?
    Schools or transition staff from an external agency. Transition
    coordination is very important.
(e) Transition planning is not just about work, it is also about adult
    education, social relationships, supported living, and community
    participation.
(f) Young people should be in control of their transition process.
(g) Indicators of effective transition planning include:
     Students and parents are the primary decision makers.
     There is commitment and involvement of relevant school staff.
     Non school agencies/community resources assist with transition.
     The curriculum offers preparation for all areas of life.

Barriers to Transition Planning
(a) Researchers have expressed serious concerns about the lack of
    involvement of young disabled people in transition planning advocating
    they should be engaged in actively determining their own future goals.
(b) Research also indicates that further education after leaving school can
    increase opportunities for young disabled people to secure employment.
    However, it is evident that there are major barriers for young disabled
    people seeking to move into further and higher education.
(c) Barriers include: lack of knowledge about further education options and
    funding sources; social isolation from peers; attitudes and exclusionary
    criteria of some post secondary education.
(d) Many researchers find that young disabled people are not consulted about
    their preferences or interests and parents/carers and/or professionals
    control decisions about their futures.
(e) Disabled students and parents/primary caregivers in the „Young Persons
    Deciding Their Own Futures Project‟, identified these systemic barriers
    within some schools in Christchurch:
     Insufficient funding, resources, services to coordinate transition and
        support students in schools.
     Some students are neither being taken seriously nor being taught
        things other students are taught.
     Students and parents/carers are often not able to make an informed
        decision about transition.



                                    30
      Staff, students, families lack information on disability supports for
       tertiary study and employment.
     Some        staff   lack    understanding    of     current  disability
       issues/philosophies, student needs and support.
     Work Experience: Some students wondered what transferable skills
       they were learning and felt exploited.
(f) There is a real need to provide information and support to disabled
    students that opens the door to a wider range of inclusive community
    based options. Preferred options are often unavailable.

Person Centred Planning
(a) This should form the basis of transition planning. The control is in the
    hands of the student and family, asking them to determine the future
    direction themselves. This is at odds with traditional approaches of
    educational teams formulating an IEP for or on behalf of the student.
(b) As most young disabled people have IEPs at school, transition planning
    often becomes integrated into the IEP process. Some international
    literature is critical of efforts to integrate transition planning into the IEP
    process because the focus on transition is limited and young disabled
    people and their families are not equally involved as participants and
    decision-makers in the process.

Partnerships
Transition planning should involve developing partnerships with providers
of services such as supported employment agencies. Representatives from
these and other services should be involved for 2 years before the young
person intends to leave school. School personnel often report a lack of
expertise and knowledge of available adult services or options for disabled
students.

Involving Students
(a) Getting a disabled student involved in their transition planning is really
    important. Students need to be involved in choices, decision making,
    problem solving, goal setting and attainment; encouraged to
    communicate their wants, to complete and evaluate tasks, take risks, to
    think about safety.
(b) There are various barriers to student involvement – staff/family
    perceptions about the students‟ competence to make decisions, student
    motivation which is often the result of the student‟s lack of control over
    the process and the complexity of the education planning process.

                                        31
(c) Disabled and non-disabled students have similar hopes and dreams.
(d) Research with the „Young People Designing Their Own Futures Project‟
    suggested disabled students:
     Access community based activities (e.g. work experience, non school
       courses) while at school, so they get used to life outside school and
       there isn't a huge change when they leave school.
     Know about their rights and about how to advocate for themselves (or
       where to get support).
     Be encouraged to be as independent as possible.
     Are given lots of information about the range of options available to
       them.
     Have the same access to opportunities that all students have.

Involving Families
(a) Families have a pivotal role to play in the transition to adult life for their
    son or daughter. Families are often the only sources of consistent
    emotional, practical and financial support throughout and after the
    transition process. They should be involved in transition planning and
    their views should be taken into account. Families also have their own
    support needs when their son or daughter moves into adult life.
(b) Families need support and advice about how best to support their son or
    daughter, acknowledge their competencies and independence; and
    encourage self- determination.
(c) Families should be:
     Given information about the range of options available to allow truly
        informed decisions.
     Encouraged to use their own networks to explore options for their
        child when they leave school.
(d) Parents see transition as not just a period of school to work, but as a
    major family event that signifies a total life change for all concerned.
(e) It is common to accept families‟ input over the individual wishes of the
    disabled student.
(f) Parents identify these barriers to transition: waiting lists for services, lack
    of social networks.
(g) Families face dilemmas with transition e.g. wanting opportunities for
    independence whilst assuring health and safety needs are met.
(h) Parents often find further education options „safer‟ than employment.
    We need to broaden ideas of meaningful daytime occupations.




                                        32
Self Determination Skills
(a) It is important that young people learn self determination skills - how to
    make choices and decisions for themselves.
(b) Researchers have found that being able to make their own choices and
    decisions helps people to have more positive adult lives.
(c) The Donald Beasley Institute found that:
     Transition from education to adult lives is more complex than is
        sometimes acknowledged.
     One of the most challenging aspects of transition planning is fostering
        and aiding a transition toward socially valued, “adult” and stimulating
        roles (Mitchell 1999).
     More planning is urgently needed to provide quality transition
        services.
     There needs to be more collaboration between MoE and MSD around
        these transition services.
     Those working with young people need to be creative about
        developing processes which fully include them as active participants.
     A clear distinction also needs to be made between the transition needs
        of the young person, and those of their family.
     Vocational training within the educational setting should be
        accompanied by „real‟ work experience.
     More flexibility within the benefit system is needed to encourage
        people into employment and to ensure they are not disadvantaged
        financially by seeking work.
     Particular attention needs to be paid to those with high support needs.
     Collaboration is critical to successful transition planning.

Functional Curriculum
Transition skills should be integrated into the curriculum and practised at
home e.g. catching buses, money.

Employment Ideas
(a) Supported employment should begin at school.
(b) Schools should develop cooperative links with employers and post
    secondary education.
(c) Having vocational education programmes or a staff member whose job it
    is to assist students to find employment is beneficial.




                                      33
Community Learning
(a) It is important that students live the daily schedule they will have when
    they leave school – classes at polytechnic, work part-time, meet friends
    for social activities, and shop at community businesses.
(b) This should particularly occur in the latter years at school.
(c) If students stay in school past the age of eighteen, they should receive
    services in relevant adult settings. Some schools offer an off campus
    option as part of transition services.
(d) Community based instruction should start at the ages of 10-13 yrs, rather
    than the typical 16-17 yrs.

Evaluation
(a) Schools need to evaluate the outcomes of their graduates in order to
    determine what is working and what needs to be changed.
(b) They should also evaluate the curriculum in terms of its age
    appropriateness and functional relevance.
(c) Students should be monitored for at least 3 - 6 months after completing
    the transition programme.
(d) Graduate follow-up surveys are one mechanism for tracking student
    outcomes.
(e) Feedback from students/families should be acknowledged and where
    appropriate incorporated back into the development of the transition
    service.

3. Wayne Francis Charitable Trust Transition Project for Disabled
   Students

In 2007 the Wayne Francis Charitable Trust commissioned Grant Cleland,
from Creative Solutions Disability Consultancy, to facilitate a process to
seek solutions to enhance the effective transition of disabled students.

Stocktake of Transition of Disabled Students in Canterbury

In March/April 2008, 77 people participated in focus groups about transition
of disabled students. These were facilitated by Grant Cleland in association
with Colin Gladstone from Allenvale School.

The aim of the focus groups was to allow disabled students, parents/primary
caregivers, staff from schools and other stakeholders involved with
transition, the opportunity to provide feedback about:

                                     34
(a) What disabled students need to help them prepare for life when they
    leave school.
(b) Options for making this the best possible experience for students and
    families.

Of those who participated in these focus groups, 26 were disabled students
with a range of impairments, 30 parents/primary caregivers, 13 agency staff
and 8 staff from schools. The people who registered were associated with 15
schools. To prevent the student‟s voice being lost in the hierarchy of
influence, the disabled students were interviewed first and their feedback
was discussed to provide a framework to focus discussion in the focus
groups with parents/primary caregivers, school and agency staff.

The Key Findings of the Stocktake
(a) Many themes were consistent across the focus groups.
(b) Some students were eager to leave school and saw this as a real
    opportunity to get a job and live independently, while many of the
    parents/primary caregivers feared transition. One parent described
    transition as “falling off a cliff”.
(c) Most students wanted inclusive community based options such as open
    employment, while most parents/primary caregivers and school/agency
    staff wanted more day services, social and life skills programmes.
(d) Little emphasis was placed on the development of academic skills.
(e) Much of the focus group feedback reflects the review of national and
    international transition literature.

Disabled Student’s Feedback
(a) Most wanted jobs in open employment to give them a „valued role‟.
(b) Many also wanted to live independently and to do other things - travel
    overseas, have income, buy a house, have friends, get married, children.
(c) There were some who wanted to do further study to get more skills.
(d) Some were eager to leave school, while other students had real concerns.
(e) Work experience was popular with many of the students.
(f) Many struggled to think about the additional support they need to prepare
    and barriers they face with preparation – “I don‟t know what else there
    is”.
(g) Most wanted to start transition somewhere between 15-17 years.
(h) The following would enhance the student‟s transition experience:
     More planning well before they leave school.
     Trying more jobs.


                                     35
      More community participation support.
      Mentor/Life Coach.
      Career days/expo.
      Someone to match their ability with jobs and support them at
       school/work.

The parents/primary caregivers needed the following to enhance their
transition experience:
(a) The need for an independent advocate to coordinate transition services:
     „One stop transition shop‟ with neutral advocates not providing direct
       services.
     Support for the student from start to finish and when necessary.
     For ORRS and non ORRS funded disabled students.
     Know a lot about what is available and what the student can do.
(b) More information about transition options, available as and when
    required in a range of formats.
(c) More programmes that develop life and social skills.

School/agency staff feedback highlighted some additional needs:
(a) More programmes to change attitudes of employers and other people.
(b) Supported housing so disabled students learn to be more independent.
(c) Some were concerned that parents/primary caregivers‟ are too cautious.
    However, this is not surprising when students move from a structured
    school environment to one they know little about.
(d) Some were concerned about the quality of work experience and the
    ability of current day services to meet the transition needs of students.
(e) The highest priorities for the school/agency staff were: More
    coordination, information about transition options, plus further research.

The focus groups highlighted the following transition issues and
solutions:

Age to Start Preparing For Transition
Key Issue/s:
(a) Leaving transition planning until the last 12-18 months isn‟t enough time.
Solution:
(a) Starting transition planning earlier, somewhere between 14-16 years.
    This depends on the individual needs of students.



                                        36
Development of Life and Social Skills
Key Issue/s:
(a) Some disabled students in their final years of school, don‟t have the life
    and social skills to transition successfully and be independent.
(b) There was little emphasis on the development of academic skills.
Solution:
(a) The student is actively engaged in determining/implementing their future
    goals.
(b) The student has an active part in the transition planning process.
(c) Work on increasing life, social and academic skills from 13-14 years, so
    students are better prepared.

Information about Transition Options
Key Issue/s:
(a) Students/families/primary caregivers lack information about transition.
(b) Some are therefore fearful of what they don‟t know.
Solution:
(a) A transition database, website, booklet, expo, posters and one stop shop.
(b) Information in special units, visiting services, parent/student evenings.
(c) Show success stories, ex students come back to inform.
(d) People can get this information as required, so they don‟t get
    overwhelmed.

Ministry of Social Development Transition Services
Key Issue/s:
(a) Many asked why MSD didn‟t fund one agency.
(b) These services only work with students in their last year – this is too late.
(c) Non ORRS funded students are also not getting the necessary support.
Solution:
(a) Develop a „one stop transition shop‟ with neutral advocates.
(b) They start to work with students and their parents/primary caregivers
    from 14-16 years or as individual students need.
(c) This is for ORRS and non ORRS funded disabled students.

Independent Coordination of Transition Services
Key Issue/s:
(a) The current transition system is very complicated and lacks coordination.


                                       37
(b) Many agencies focus on a specific area (e.g. employment), don‟t give an
    overview of all services and only sell their own services.
(c) The transition needs of many disabled students are not being met.
Solution:
(a) A service coordinates transition in schools with neutral advocates, who:
     Support the student from start to finish and from an early age.
     Know a lot about what is available and what the student can do.
     Are free and mediate between the student/parents/school/other
       services.
     Are not providing direct services, offer an overview of services,
       contacted as necessary.

Improve Attitudes
Key Issue/s:
(a) With transition of disabled students there is a tendency to be too cautious.
Solution:
(a) Give disabled students/parents/primary caregivers transition information
    earlier.
(b) Look at how to get more parents on board and build higher expectations
    – actions speak louder than words for the students and their parents.
(c) Find the middle ground – there is a fear of stepping forward.
(d) Develop mentoring programme for the disabled students and
    parents/caregivers.

Community Participation
Key Issue/s:
(a) Not enough funding and support for community participation while
    students are at school and when they leave school.
Solution:
(a) More support and funding for Community Participation.
(b) Develop more worthwhile activities to build independence for those
    without jobs.
(c) Schools building closer links with other services (e.g. CPIT).

Employment
Key Issue/s:
(a) Many parents/caregivers don‟t know who supports students in
    employment, hard getting jobs for some, and negative employer attitudes.

                                      38
(b) Some current work experience is not meeting student needs; is good
    while the support is there, but when it is removed it often falls over.
Solution:
(a) Enhance support with getting jobs, increase job support and funding.
(b) Educate employers about disability.
(c) Have more support/incentives for employers.
(d) Create guidelines for effective work experience.
(e) Have work experience and jobs that lead to skill and career development.

Continuity of the Support from School
Key Issue/s:
(a) Moving from a structured school environment to unstructured one, the
    lack of pathways to create what student‟s want and continuity of support.
Solution:
(a) Start transition planning earlier.
(b) Have a more coordinated transition planning process.
(c) Decide what services need to continue when a student leaves school –
    communication development, therapy services, etc.
(d) Create a middle step for those struggling with transition.
(e) Develop a continuum of services that meets the range of needs.

Funding
Key Issue/s:
(a) Funding for students with very high support needs is not enough.
(b) The support funding for some reduces when they leave school.
(c) Some non ORRs funded students have little funding or support.
(d) Some schools can‟t provide sufficient one on one support for transition.
Solution:
(a) Research about what is adequate funding for transition.
(b) Increase funding so transition options and support is increased for ORRS
    and non ORRS funded students.

Professional Development for Transition Staff in Schools and Agencies
Key Issue/s:
(a) Some school and agency staff require more advice and support with
    transition.



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Solution:
(a) Provide school and agency staff more support with transition
     Advice and Support
     Assistance with Work Experience
     Professional Development Training
     How to get Disabled Students More Actively Involved in Transition
     Consistent Guidelines, Transition Planning Tools, Processes and
       Resources
     Schools Building Closer Links with Other Services (e.g. CPIT)
     More Information about Transition Options
     Identifying/developing solutions to learning support barriers for
       disabled students.

Best Practice Framework for Transition of Disabled Students

This was developed as part of this project to assist development of effective
transition of disabled students:
(a) The transition process starts to occur no later than the age of 14 years and
    is part of a specific transition planning process.
(b) This process is driven by the student/whanau and the student is actively
    engaged in determining/implementing their future goals.
(c) Partnerships between the school and community supports are developed
    at least 2 years before the young person leaves school.
(d) The transition programme is integrated within the structure of general
    education rather than as a separate and parallel programme.
(e) The process identifies and overcomes barriers to the disabled student.
(f) The students/whanau are offered information and support that opens the
    door to a wider range of inclusive community based options.
(g) A clear distinction is made between the transition needs of the young
    person and those of their family.
(h) Functional transition skills are in the curriculum and practised at home.
(i) Those at school after 18 years old receive services in adult settings.
(j) The outcomes of the transition planning process are regularly evaluated.

4. Ministry of Education Operational Guidelines for Transition of
   Disabled Students

After completing the stock take, the Wayne Francis Charitable Trust hosted
2 forums with representatives of the focus groups, plus National Office


                                      40
senior staff from organizations such as MoE, GSE, MoH, MSD, and the
Families Commission. At these meetings the Best Practice Framework was
endorsed and other recommendations were made to be implemented by a
multi-agency Transition Action Group.

The MoE and GSE are now developing Operational Guidelines for
Transition of Disabled Students from School. The Best Practice Framework
is being used as the basis for this. This is also being used for the
development of a MoE/GSE facilitated pilot transition services for ORRS
and non ORRS funded disabled students in Christchurch.

There are also other initiatives focusing on transition of disabled students
around the country - transition expos/booklets, local steering groups, school
transition networks, the CCS Disability Action/Workbridge Journey to Work
Project and a review of the MoE TKI Transition Website
www.transitions.org.nz.

5. Inquiry Into The Quality Of Care And Service Provision For People
   With Disabilities: Report Of The Social Services Committee,
   September 2008

The Select Committee recommended to the Government that it extend the
MSD pilot programmes for disabled students in transition from school into
employment, training or further education. It also recommended that the
effectiveness of these programmes be monitored closely and that progress
reports on this matter be provided to the Social Services Committee every 12
months.

In February 2009, the Government‟s response to the Select Committee
Transition Recommendations stated that it felt that these programmes had
already been extended and that the contract arrangements with milestone
payments would assist with monitoring these services. It also suggested that
all disabled students receiving these services now have a choice of transition
provider. This therefore infers keeping the status quo, rather than any further
development. Anecdotal evidence from schools mentioned earlier in this
section indicates the need to urgently review these MSD funded transition
services for disabled students.




                                      41
6. Conclusion
“The experience of a young disabled person preparing for adult life is often
one of a struggle with systems that seem only to lead to dependence and few
choices. Families often consider the transition from school to adult life as a
 time of risk when the need to protect and care contradicts the feelings of
    wanting their loved one to be independent and free to experiment”.
                           (Dobson and Jay 2000)
This quote provides a general sense of how many disabled students and their
parents/primary caregivers feel about the current transition system in New
Zealand.

The following needs to occur to achieve the successful transition of disabled
students:
(a) The transition process starts no later than 14 years and is part of a
    specific transition planning process.
(b) The disabled student is actively engaged in determining and
    implementing their future goals and plays an active part in the transition
    planning process.
(c) We need to ask whether „disabled students are under value in the current
    education system‟ and investigate how to make sure that they are valued
    more.
(d) The MoE and GSE implement the Operational Guidelines for Transition
    of Disabled Students consistently across all schools. This needs to be
    holistic, cover the Best Practice Transition Framework and in terms of
    employment, have more emphasis on career development rather than
    just getting jobs.
(e) We assist disabled students to build a better foundation for transition
    with more emphasis on achieving their academic potential, developing
    their functional skills and overcoming their barriers to learning support
    such as funding.
(f) Identify and overcome the other barriers to successful transition of
    disabled students.
(g) Develop a range of options to improve the information and support that
    disabled students and their parents/primary caregivers receive about
    inclusive community based transition options.
(h) Transition staff in Schools and MSD funded transition services receive
    professional development training to build their capacity to implement



                                     42
    the Best Practice Framework and ensure disabled students are an active
    part of transition planning.
(i) Provide schools and MSD funded transition services with other support
    around transition – advice, assistance with effective work experience;
    consistent guidelines and transition planning tools, processes and
    resources.
(j) Urgently review the Ministry of Social Development funded transition
    services, in association with school transition staff. This needs to focus
    on the best ways to support schools with transition of ORRS and non
    ORRS funded disabled students.
(k) The MoE, GSE, MSD and other key stakeholders at a national level
    regularly meet to implement ways to collaborate around transition of
    disabled students and share their resources.
(l) Review funding and support mechanisms for building pathways to
    community participation, for effective work experience and to
    encourage schools to build closer links with other services such tertiary
    education and employers. This should also identify the support
    employers need to employ more disabled staff.
(m) Examine the funding mechanisms required by ORRS and non ORRS
    funded disabled students to transition successfully.
(n) Develop systems to regularly evaluate the outcomes of transition
    planning for ORRS and non ORRS funded disabled students within
    schools.

7. References

1. CPaBL – Report on Initial Baseline Information (2007), Education
   Review Office, Wellington.
2. Education for Adults with Intellectual Disability Including Transition to
   Adulthood (2003), Donald Beasley Institute, Dunedin. p. 1 – 30.
3. Government Response to the Report of the Social Services Select
   Committee on its Inquiry into the Quality of Care and Service Provision
   for People with Disabilities (February 2009), Wellington.
4. Information about the CPaBL Project provided by DeNeen Baker-
   Underhill, Project Manager, Ministry of Education (2007), Wellington.
5. Information about the Youth Transitions Services provided by Mark
   Quinlivan, Operational Support Manager, Ministry of Social
   Development (2008), Wellington.
6. Inquiry into the Quality of Care and Service Provision for People with


                                     43
    Disabilities: Report of the Social Services Committee (September 2008),
    Wellington.
7. Literature Review of Transition to Adult Life, Interagency Collaboration
    and Person Centred Planning (2005), Donald Beasley Institute, Dunedin.
    p. 8-69.
8. Ministry of Education CPaBL Project Briefing and Other Documents
    (2007), Ministry of Education Website, Wellington.
9. Ministry of Education Special Education Policy Guidelines (Republished
    June 2003), Ministry of Education, Wellington. p. 1-6.
10.Ministry of Social Development Guidelines for Transition of Disabled
    Students: Providing a Transition Service: A Transition Resource (2007),
    Ministry of Social Development, Wellington. p. 3-38.
11.Universal College of Learning. (2004). Diploma of Supported
    Employment: Module 10 – Transition from School to Work. Wellington,
    New Zealand: Universal College of Learning. p. 15-18, 20-23, 39-42, 50-
    51, 60-62, 66-72, , 88, 90-95, 101, 148-207, 220 – 232.
12. Findings of the Stocktake of Transition of Disabled Students in Canterbury.
    (2008), Wayne Francis Charitable Trust, Cleland, G., Gladstone, C. &
    Todd, C., Christchurch:
13.Young People Designing Their Own Futures (2004); Grant Cleland,
    Karen Rickerby, Missy Morton in Association with CCS Disability
    Action; Christchurch.
14.Youth Transitions Report Series 2003: Executive Summary - Key
    findings on Youth Transitions (2003), Ministry of Social Development,
    Wellington.
15.Youth Transitions Services (2008), Ministry of Social Development:
    Work and Income Website, Ministry of Social Development, Wellington.




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