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Why Work Experience is Important for Individuals Living With a Disability

The benefits of work experience for young individuals are crucial in order to open doors to career pathways. Disabled people in the workforce unfortunately do not have as many opportunities to experience work in whatever industry, however more than ever, we’re overcoming this issue. It’s incredibly important that employers consider hiring anyone who has enthusiasm to try, no matter what limitations they have.

A couple of months ago, one of SACARE’s residents from Kingswood, Alice, put together a few goals. One of her biggest goals was to gain further employment “somewhere”. Like any young person Alice was not sure what direction she wanted to take as a career. So she tried photography. The aim of the work experience was not so much about the “photography itself” but Alice opening her mind and breaking down the barriers to what was achievable for her. The benefits of work experience for individuals living with a disability include:

Promoting self – self-determination (this is a big one!)

 Self-determination is all about asking a client what motivates them. There are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic comes from within. For example, it was important to find a job/career for Alice that she would really enjoy. As this gave her the motivation and self-determination to continue on her chosen career path. Work experience provided a great way for Alice to work out if she really enjoyed photography or not.


 If your work is something you love, it will give you clarity, drive and happiness in all aspects of your life. This is very closely linked with self-determination. For example it was important that Alice made her own decision based on autonomy to work out if “photography” was for her. Work experience allowed her to self-reflect and come to her own conclusion and in turn promote autonomy.


 Work experience enables individuals to broaden their awareness of the numerous careers available to them and to help refine career choice so that they are not limited by their disability. For example, photography was a good example for Alice, as it did not discriminate, and with the adaptive technologies, she was quickly able to realise that a photographer could easily be a career choice for her.


 Above all, work experience develops any individual. New skills are built, knowledge is gained, and confidence is heightened. For Alice, she was able to develop an appreciation for real life applicability and relevance of what she recently learnt at School and Tafe. You can read her blog here about her experience at TAFE.

By Alex Killey (Manager of Social and Behaviour Therapy)


"The reasons why I decided to try photos”

By Alice Waterman

  1. I liked learning how different photographers can take a great photo in their own style.
  2. I liked understanding how different photographers have their own special subjects that they like to take photos of.
  3. I enjoyed learning about the different careers the photographers have had so far.
  4. I found it interesting that the photographers use computer programs to improve the photograph by making people look “better” by taking out face lines or changing hair colour.
  5. I think it’s cool that photographers can are able to travel to interesting places, like going to the outback.
  6. I got to learn how to take a photo by making sure you have good lighting in your photos by using a special machine.
  7. It was great to see all the famous people that the photographer had taken photos of.
  8. I liked learning about the old style of the camera.
  9. I liked learning all about the different people the photographer had met through their journey.
  10. For my final point I would like to say that you should always be willing to try out new things because you never know you may find out that you have a new passion that could lead you to a job opportunity, and you get to meet lots of new friends as well!



If you’d like to learn more about what social wellbeing and support programs SACARE offers, visit this page for more details. The goal for the wellbeing programs is to help clients gain choice, control and achieve their personal goals.


Photo Desc: Alice doing work experience with Michael Haines at photography studio Kevin Killey Photographics