Action - Improve transition into employment

The action outlined below will help achieve this outcome. This work was started under the existing Disability Action Plan.

1. Priority: Increase the number of disabled people who transition from school and from tertiary education into employment

1 A: Improve transitions.

On this page

Update on progress

Scope of action

  1. Proposed scope
  2. Lead
  3. Project governance and structure
  4. Engagement plan
  5. Reporting key milestones
  6. Evidence base
  7. Related work
  8. Risks 

Update on progress (September 2018)

Status: On track - Green

In sum: The Transitions Working Group has identified options to increase the number of disabled youth transitioning into employment. Targeted engagement with disabled youth and families will take place over the coming months to test these options, with the timing dependent on the availability of youth-oriented disability groups to host the engagement. The Transitions Steering Group, which has two DPO representatives, will meet for the first time on 25 October.


The engagement will include four focus groups, two of which are planned for Mana Whaikaha. There may be opportunities to trial some initiatives as part of Mana Whaikaha, based on the outcomes of the engagement.


The draft Disability and Learning Support Action Plan, currently out for engagement, also includes improvements to transitions. This includes identifying the additional supports required to enable young people with learning support needs to access secondary/tertiary programmes, careers advice and transition into further education.

Scope approved [complete]

  • Scope approved at the 10 June 2016 meeting of the Chief Executives’ Group on Disability Issues and Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs).

Project participation and governance structure confirmed June 2016 [complete]

  • Cross agency working group meeting regularly.
  • On 19 october 2017, when the Ministry of Education met with the DPO Coalition it was agreed that the DPOs would provide the names of one or two representatives to join the Working Group, and that a Steering Group would be established.

Detailed project plan and draft engagement plan (June 2016) [Phase 1 complete]

  • The project plan and engagement plan for Phase 2 will be developed by the Working Group once DPO representation is established.

Literature review (December 2016) [complete]

  • Initial review of literature completed

New timeframes agreed by DPOs (Timeframes TBC)

  • The proposed arrangements to support Phase 2 of the project will be considered by the Working Group once DPO representation is confirmed.

Progress report and briefing to government (November 2017) [on track to meet agreed new timeframe]

  • This is subject to agreement of proposed Phase 2 scope approach. Advice to government was intended to be provided by June 2018; this will be confirmed with the incoming Ministers.

Youth Panel (31 December 2017) [N/A]

  • The proposed arrangements to support Phase 2 of the project will be considered by the Working Group by February 2018. 

Proposed work plan for Phase 2 (February 2018) [on track]

  • The proposed arrangements to support Phase 2 of the project will be considered by the Working Group by February 2018. 

Lead: Ministry of Education

Others involved: Ministry of Social Development

DPOs contact: People First

Scope of action

1      Proposed scope

The purpose of the project is to increase the number of disabled people who transition from school and tertiary education into employment. The project will be guided by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability, in particular Article 27: Work and Employment.

The project will define employment in its broadest sense, encompassing self-employment, micro-enterprise; and the more conventional employer-employee relationship through part-time and full-time paid work. Mechanisms for gaining employment, such as work experience, transition programmes and internships will also be considered.

Out of scope

The project will not look at structural or attitudinal barriers to the employment of disabled people as these are the focus of other Actions in the Disability Action Plan.

2      Lead

The lead agency is the Ministry of Education, it will be responsible for:

  • ensuring a collaborative approach is taken across the project
  • leading development and management of the work programme, and related engagement strategy
  • coordinating meetings and undertaking related administration
  • ensuring that all partied know what is expected of the, and that they deliver what they have agreed to
  • coordinating the preparation of any working papers
  • reporting progress through required mechanisms, in collaboration with other parties as appropriate
  • ensuring participants are kept informed of any decisions made, or feedback provided, at the project management level and above that affect the project.

A working group consisting of (among others) the following will be established:

  • Ministry of Social Development
  • ACC
  • Disability Employment Forum
  • DPOs.

3      Project governance and structure

Project Governance

The project will be subject to the standard governance arrangements in place for all Disability Action Plan projects.

Steering Group

In addition, a project-specific Steering Group comprising Government, DPO and NGO representatives will be established to:

  • provide advice and guidance to the project team
  • ensure that the project is appropriately resourced to complete agreed work to a high quality and within agreed timeframes
  • ensure the project delivers within its agreed parameters
  • resolve strategic and directional issues between the programme, other projects, and business as usual work
  • champion the programme with colleagues and external stakeholders, and feed back their perceptions to the Steering Group and project team.

Members of the Steering Group will discuss and provide guidance on the policy options being developed by the project team; and address any barriers the project might encounter that prevent it from performing effectively, and delivering against the agreed project work programme.

The Steering Group will meet at least every three months.

Project Reference Group

The Project Reference Group will inform and influence the project. This will be achieved by:

  • sharing information and perspectives
  • discussing and understanding underlying issues.

The following will be part of the reference group:

  • disabled young people
  • employers and or employers’ groups
  • schools
  • tertiary education providers
  • disability support providers
  • employers’ groups and individual employers
  • parent groups.

A youth panel will be established to ensure that the voice of young people is heard strongly.

The following government agencies will also have some involvement:

  • Ministry of Health
  • Tertiary Education Commission
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
  • Te Puni Kokiri
  • Pacific Island Affairs.

Cost of DPO and NGO Participation

The Ministry of Education is committed to partnering with DPOs and NGOs in achieving shared outcomes. We understand that this will entail making reasonable accommodations to enable full participation. The Ministry will make every effort to schedule meetings, and provide any meeting materials, well in advance of meetings.

Where participation is not a core function of the participants paid role, a contribution towards the costs of participation may be made, in accordance with State Services Commission guidelines. This will be negotiated on a case by case basis and, where appropriate may include:

  • taxis
  • airfares
  • accommodation (if necessary)
  • lunch and refreshments
  • costs of a support person if required.

4      Engagement Plan

The engagement plan will be developed in collaboration with the reference group and youth panel to ensure that there are opportunities for other interested parties to hear about, and contribute to the work of the project. It will use a range of mechanisms including meetings and written and digital communications.

5      Reporting Key Milestones

The project will take a three phased approach:

  • Phase 1 will focus on:
    • identifying or clarifying what supports or impedes young disabled people getting work, and progressing toward, and achieving their employment aspirations
    •  an analysis of the supports that are currently available
    • initial testing of ideas and pathways
  • Phase 2 will be informed by the results of Phase 1, and will focus on the development of options and pathways for improving employment outcomes for young disabled people (possible changes to funding, services and supports; including mainstream services and activities).
  • Phase 3 will focus on overseeing the implementation of the agreed changes to ensure that the project results in improved outcomes for young disabled people.

Phase 1

Phase 1 will comprise a literature review to provide information on best practice, international evidence, and an analysis of existing supports and services.Part of the literature look at what works for disabled Maori and Pasifika. The literature review will build on and use previous literature reviews.

Structured interviews and focus groups involving disabled young people will be held, to explore what has helped or hindered their transition from school or tertiary education to employment. Interviews and focus groups will also be held with schools, mainstream and specialist service providers, and employers asking them similar questions from their perspectives.

This work will inform development of a draft project scope for Phase 2 of the project.

Phase 1: Timeframe and deliverables

  • Proposed initial deliverable   Due date  
  • Project participation and governance structure confirmed   June 2016  
  • Detailed project plan   June 2016  
  • Draft engagement plan   June 2016  
  • Literature review   December 2016  
  • Progress updates provided for discussion at senior officials and DPO meetings   As advised by ODI  
  • Progress report and briefing to government   December 2016  
  • Proposed work plan for phase 2   December 2016  

Success Indicators

The key indicators that the project has resulted in positive outcomes will include:

  • increased numbers gaining employment (as defined above)
  • increased numbers gain employment that is well-aligned with their capability, preferences and aspirations
  • young people, their family members, other support providers and employers report increased optimism and perceived improvements to both process and outcomes.

Other positive outcome may include:

  • young disabled people having an improved quality of life
  • more efficient and effective use of resources targeted to supporting young disabled people into employment
  • reduced reliance on income support by young disabled people.

6      Evidence base

The project will draw on a range of qualitative and quantitative information, such as operational information on services delivered (and employment outcomes where possible), and reports describing lived experience and recommending principles to support best practice, such as the 2008 Stocktake of Transition of Disabled Students in Canterbury (Wayne Francis Trust).

7      Related work

This action relates to several other priorities (and related actions) in the Disability Action Plan 2014-2018 2015 update, most particularly:

  • Priority 2: Increasing the number of disabled people, including long-term unemployed disabled people, in paid employment and self-employment on an equal basis with others
  • Priority 3: Increasing the numbers of employers who are confident in employing disabled people, with the public sector taking the lead.

There are a number of local initiatives, for example Enabling Good Lives and the internship model being implemented in Christchurch, that the project will engage with to ensure linkages and alignment.

The implications of the CYF EAP project will be monitored.

8      Risks

The key risks and mitigations are outlined below. This risk register will be updated as the project progresses.

  • Risk: Issues complex, wide ranging and inter-connected. Mitigation: Good information base, collaborative approach Government cross agency / DPO approach  
  • Risk: Current providers may feel destabilised. Migation: Provider representatives will be closely engaged in the project. A communications plan and engagement strategy will ensure all providers are well-informed and have the opportunity to contribute
  • Risk: Government, DPOs and allied organisations working in partnership and achieving consensus may be difficult. Mitigation: A genuine commitment from the outset is a positive start. The escalation pathway provided through the Governance process provides for resolution of any issues  
  • Risk: Work may not proceed fast enough to make a difference for disabled young people already in the system. Mitigation: Proposed phased approach enables rapid change and building over time  
  • Risk: Implementation costs may not be affordable / acceptable to Government. Mitigation: Robust advice to Government will provide sufficient information for informed decision-making around scalable options  

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