School Leaver Employment Supports

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School Leaver Employment Supports

School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES)

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) offers a range of support options, but did you know there are programs specifically designed to help young people with disabilities transition from school to work?  The School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES) program is here to bridge that gap. Let’s explore what SLES is and how it empowers young participants to embark on successful careers.

What is SLES?

SLES stands for School Leaver Employment Supports. It is a program offered by the NDIS to Year 12 school leavers who are eligible for NDIS assistance. SLES aims to improve employment opportunities for young individuals with disabilities by providing supports for up to two years. The program focuses on work experience, skills development, and linking participants to further ongoing supports through a Disability Employment Service (DES) provider (Team DSC).

School Leaver Employment Supports

Purpose of SLES

The introduction of SLES by the NDIS addresses the “culture of low expectations” when it comes to employment for people with disabilities. Early NDIS plans showed little emphasis on employment support, with only about 6% of plans including it. The purpose of SLES is to provide meaningful work experiences, build confidence, and improve expectations for young individuals transitioning from school to work (Team DSC).

SLES operates on an individualized strategy for employment supports, negotiated between the participant and provider. It falls under the NDIS Support Category 10, Finding and Keeping a Job. Unlike an hourly rate, SLES operates on an annualized funding model, allowing flexibility in designing and delivering employment supports tailored to the participant’s needs and goals (Team DSC).

By participating in the SLES program, you can gain valuable work experience, develop essential skills, and access ongoing support to enhance your employment prospects. It is an opportunity to break the barriers and create a pathway towards a successful career.

SLES Eligibility

To access the School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES) program under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), it’s important to understand the eligibility criteria. SLES is designed to assist Year 12 school leavers in improving their employment prospects by providing supports for up to two years. Let’s delve into who qualifies for SLES and how it benefits Year 12 school leavers.

Who Qualifies for SLES?

SLES is available to Year 12 school leavers who are eligible for the NDIS. It aims to address the “culture of low expectations” regarding employment for people with disabilities. The program provides opportunities for work experience, skills development, and linking participants to further ongoing supports through a Disability Employment Service (DES) provider.

To be eligible for SLES, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • Have an approved NDIS plan
  • Be aged between 18 and 21 years old at the commencement of the SLES plan
  • Have completed Year 12 or equivalent
  • Have a goal of employment in their NDIS plan
  • Be willing and ready to engage in employment-related activities

SLES supports participants in building their skills, confidence, and capacity to enter the workforce. It focuses on providing meaningful work experiences and linking participants with ongoing employment supports.

Year 12 School Leavers and SLES

Year 12 school leavers often face unique challenges when transitioning from school to work. SLES recognizes this critical period and aims to provide tailored supports to assist with employment opportunities.

By engaging in the SLES program, Year 12 school leavers can benefit from:

  • Work experience placements: Participants gain practical experience in real work environments, allowing them to develop transferable skills and explore different industries.
  • Skills development: SLES offers training and support to develop essential workplace skills such as communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and time management.
  • Employment goal planning: Participants work with their SLES provider to identify their employment goals, create individualized plans, and develop strategies for achieving them.
  • Linking to ongoing supports: SLES connects participants with DES providers who can offer continued support and assistance in finding and maintaining employment.

It’s important for Year 12 school leavers to take advantage of the SLES program to maximize their potential for successful transition into the workforce. Through SLES, they can gain valuable skills and experiences, build confidence, and increase their chances of securing meaningful and sustainable employment.

SLES Program Details

When it comes to the NDIS SLES program, it’s important to understand the various aspects that shape its implementation. This section will delve into the duration of SLES support, budget allocation for SLES, and the support structure offered under the program.

Duration of SLES Support

SLES offers supports for up to two years aimed at improving employment opportunities through work experience, skills development, and linking participants to further ongoing supports through a Disability Employment Service (DES) provider. The duration of support provided under SLES can be tailored to meet the specific needs and goals of participants.

Budget Allocation for SLES

For participants enrolled in the SLES program, an annual budget of $22,750 is allocated (Team DSC). This funding is intended to cover the costs associated with the supports provided through SLES. It’s important to note that the specific days and hours of support can vary and are agreed upon between the participant and their provider. This flexibility allows for customization based on individual circumstances and goals.

SLES Support Structure

SLES operates on an individualized strategy for employment supports, negotiated between the participant and provider. It falls under the NDIS Support Category 10, Finding and Keeping a Job. Unlike an hourly rate, SLES operates on an annualized funding model, allowing for greater flexibility in designing and delivering supports (Team DSC).

The support structure within the SLES program is designed to provide participants with meaningful work experiences and skills development opportunities. By addressing the “culture of low expectations” of people with disabilities, SLES aims to empower participants to reach their full potential in the workplace.

Through SLES, participants can access a range of supports, including:

  • Work experience placements
  • Job shadowing opportunities
  • Skills training and development workshops
  • Assistance with resume writing and interview skills
  • Ongoing mentoring and guidance

The goal of the SLES support structure is to equip participants with the necessary skills and confidence to transition into open employment successfully.

SLES Implementation

When it comes to the implementation of SLES (School Leaver Employment Supports), it’s important to understand its current availability, phased rollout, and geographic coverage.

Current Availability of SLES

SLES is currently available in South Australia, Tasmania, the ACT, and parts of New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland. It provides valuable support to NDIS participants looking to transition from school to employment. The aim of SLES is to equip individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge to maximize their employment opportunities (Team DSC).

Phased Rollout of SLES

The rollout of SLES is being conducted in phases across Australia, in line with the NDIS phasing schedule. The program is currently available statewide in South Australia, Tasmania, and the ACT, and plans are in place for a progressive rollout across all regions in Australia. This phased approach ensures that participants across the country have access to SLES, empowering them to thrive in the workforce.

Geographic Coverage of SLES

As mentioned earlier, SLES is currently available in South Australia, Tasmania, the ACT, and parts of New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland. It’s important to note that the coverage of SLES will expand over time to encompass all regions in Australia, as outlined by the NDIS phasing schedule. This ensures that individuals with disabilities across the country have equal opportunities to access the necessary supports for employment success.

To determine the availability of SLES in your specific region, it is recommended to consult with your local NDIS office or service provider. They will have the most up-to-date information regarding the implementation and availability of SLES in your area.


When it comes to the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme), there are various services available to assist participants in achieving their goals. Two of these services are SLES (School Leaver Employment Supports) and DES (Disability Employment Service). In this section, we will explore the relationship between SLES and DES, as well as the transition support provided from SLES to DES.

Relationship Between SLES and DES

SLES and DES are closely connected services within the NDIS framework. SLES is specifically designed to support young people with disabilities who are transitioning from school to employment. It focuses on building their capacity and skills to enhance their chances of gaining and maintaining meaningful employment.

On the other hand, DES is a service that provides support to individuals with a disability to find and maintain employment in the open labor market. It offers a range of tailored supports to assist participants in securing suitable employment opportunities. The interface between SLES and DES is designed as a bridge to facilitate the transition process from SLES to DES.

During the transition period, SLES supports can overlap with DES supports for up to six months. This ensures a smooth and seamless transition for participants, allowing them to continue receiving the necessary assistance while transitioning to open employment. The specific duration of the overlap will be determined based on individual circumstances and needs.

Transition Support from SLES to DES

The transition support provided from SLES to DES aims to ensure a successful integration into the open labor market. Throughout the transition period, participants will receive ongoing support and guidance to help them navigate the employment landscape and access suitable job opportunities.

The transition support may include:

  • Assistance with job search and applications
  • Resume writing and interview preparation
  • Vocational training and skill development
  • Workplace accommodations and modifications
  • Ongoing mentoring and support

By providing this comprehensive support, the transition from SLES to DES aims to maximize the potential for participants to secure and maintain employment that aligns with their goals and aspirations.

It’s important to note that the availability of DES may vary depending on geographic location. Participants should consult with their NDIS planner or Local Area Coordinator (LAC) to determine the specific DES providers and services available in their area.

The interface between SLES and DES serves as a vital link to empower young people with disabilities to transition successfully into open employment. Through this collaboration, individuals can access the necessary resources, supports, and opportunities to achieve their employment goals and enhance their overall independence and quality of life.


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