Safeguarding the future conference - Canberra, 23-24 May 2024

Registrations close at 5:00 pm AEST on Thursday, 16 May

Animated explainer video series about Customised Employment

This animated video series has been developed to help people with disability, their families, and potential employers understand the customised approach to employment.

Customised Employment is an approach that starts with the person rather than the job. Time is spent identifying a person’s unique interests and potential contributions, and this information is used to tailor a job role. The aim of the approach is to create meaningful work roles that suit both the person with disability and their employer.

Originating from Marc Gold and Associates in the United States, Customised Employment has shown remarkable success in increasing employment opportunities for people with disability.

We encourage you to share this series with others.

Video transcript

Chapter 1: Customised Employment – What is it, and how does it work?

This video explains Customised Employment, where job roles are created to align with the unique strengths and interests of people with disability.

Customised Employment focuses on the person first, not a job vacancy.  It’s about creating roles that value people’s unique interests and skills that benefit an employer.

Traditionally, jobs are created when employers advertise work roles and job seekers compete with others who apply for that job.  Customised Employment starts with the person, focusing on their unique interests and strengths to match them with employers who need those skills.  It also considers the person’s ideal work conditions that need to be in place for the person to thrive.

Job Facilitators play a key role in tailoring and negotiating employment opportunities based on individual skills and interests. This approach benefits employers by connecting them with individuals who have skills that fulfil specific workplace needs and contribute positively to their business.

Many individuals with disability have found success with Customised Employment, finding roles where their unique contributions are valued.

Let’s look at some Australian success stories.

Sam has diverse interests and skills, including managing mail and interacting with people.  Sam’s optimal work conditions involve being active and working with others.  Over time, these qualities led Sam to a fulfilling role in parcel processing and delivering mail to students at University accommodation.

Casey has a passion for woodworking which was discovered through their school projects. Casey thrives in environments that involve hands-on tasks and clear steps.  These strengths and preferences eventually guided Casey to a satisfying job making customised cheese boards.

Jordan has a range of interests and skills, such as making hot beverages for others, organising, and using an iPad.  Jordan’s primary condition for success is for a variety of tasks without excessive downtime.  This eventually led to a fulfilling job in a barbershop serving customers.

Customised Employment paves the way for meaningful and fulfilling employment by focusing on a person’s unique skills and interests.

Chapter 1 is also available to watch on our YouTube channel.

Chapter 2: The Discovery Process

This video explains the process of Discovery, which is the first step in Customised Employment.

The aim of Discovery is to better understand a person’s interests, skills, and ideal work conditions through conversations and observations.  Discovery provides rich, reliable information about the Job Seeker, which is used to plan job search efforts.

A Job Facilitator usually guides the discovery process. Discovery uncovers the person’s interests in everyday activities that they do with enthusiasm.  Discovery also finds out which work conditions do work well and don’t work well for the person to ensure their success at work.  Lastly, Discovery shows a person’s potential contributions they could offer an employer, including skills from their life, work, and training.

Contributions express what the person can do, like arranging products or welcoming guests. All of this information about the person is recorded in a Discovery profile.  The next step is to plan the job search; identifying workplaces where the person’s interests and skills align with potential work tasks.

To research workplaces, the Job Facilitator would start talking to family, friends, work colleagues, and wider community contacts about workplaces that might have tasks that could be a good fit for the job seeker’s contributions, interests and work conditions. This process could take place in a planned gathering, aiming to generate a list of people for the Job Facilitator to contact.  The Facilitator uses this list to approach workplaces and identify mutually beneficial job roles.

Chapter 2 is also available to watch on our YouTube channel.

Chapter 3: How jobs are developed with employers

This video explains how to customise job roles that work well for an employer and the person with disability.

Customised Job Development is a process where a Job Facilitator works to find roles that match a person’s interests and skills with unmet workplace needs.

The Job Facilitator uses the names identified from the gathering to contact potential employers.

In the first meeting with an employer, the Job Facilitator explains the concept of Customised Employment and presents a visual resume showcasing where the person can best contribute to their workplace.

If a workplace is interested in exploring customisation, the Job Facilitator learns about how the business works to find the right job fit. This helps the Job Facilitator understand different job roles and tasks better.

Employers might show the facilitator their workplace and explain how things work.  This helps the facilitator to spot business needs and find valued tasks that might suit the person.

Facilitators focus on finding three kinds of tasks that are beneficial for employers:

  1. tasks that are often overlooked or delayed
  2. particular tasks that are done by a highly paid professional that could be done by someone in an entry-level position, and
  3. activities that can contribute new helpful ideas to improve the business.

After understanding the workplace, the Job Facilitator looks at which tasks might suit the strengths and interests of the person. The Job Facilitator then discusses with the employer how these identified tasks could create a suitable job role.   If the employer likes the idea, they work together to make a job description that suits the person.

Chapter 3 is also available to watch on our YouTube channel.

Chapter 4: How to build inclusive teams with Job Support

This video shows how Job Supporters can help employers build confidence to assist employees with disability and foster their work contributions.

After a job is agreed upon, the Job Facilitator becomes a Job Supporter.   It’s helpful for the Job Supporter to visit the workplace before the employee starts. They identify who will train, give instructions, and supervise the employee with permission.

The Job Supporter takes notes, pictures, and videos of tasks being performed by the workplace staff. This helps the Job Supporter to identify additional steps in teaching tasks if standard teaching methods aren’t effective for the employee.

Once the employee starts, they should receive the same training and supervision as others, ensuring correct learning and fostering of workplace connections.

The Job Supporter discreetly monitors the employee’s work.  As the employee becomes more competent and confident, their need for a Job Supporter reduces and eventually fades.  This process helps the employee become a valued part of the team.

Chapter 4 is also available to watch on our YouTube channel.


About this video series

These animated videos were developed by Imagine More in partnership with Resourcing Inclusive Communities and Community Resource Unit as part of our School to Work project.