Definition of Supported Employment

Supported employment is a provision of support to people with disabilities or other disadvantaged groups to access and maintain paid employment in the open labour market. (European Union for Supported Employment - EUSE)

Supported employment includes an array of services or policies, such as:

  • Advice for employees and employers, such as work assistance, job carving / altering, and job coaches who give individual support to employees with disabilities.
  • Policies at the state or agency level may include a wage subsidy for the employer.

The Supported Employment method can be used for people with significant disabilities: physical, intellectual, psychiatric, sensory and hidden. The purpose is to provide real employment opportunities of people’s own choice in an integrated setting with appropriate ongoing support to become economically and socially active in their own communities.

EUSE identifies 5 stages in the SE process:

  •       Client engagement

This first stage in the 5-steps process is indispensable to ensure that a PwD makes an informed choice about wishing to use the Supported Employment model to find a job and which Supported Employment organisation can assist them to achieve employment.

  •       Vocational profiling

To help PwD to secure and maintain paid employment, a person-centered approach is used within Supported Employment to collect relevant information about the persons’ wishes, interests and abilities for work.

  •       Job finding

In this third stage, the job seeker is connected with potential employers. The persons’ skills and abilities are viewed in terms of their relevance and requirement in the open labour market. As a result, there is a matching of the job seekers’ needs with those of the employers’ needs.

  •       Employer engagement

When working with the SE-method, it is important that service providers work with both job seekers (clients) and employers. Service providers must focus on identifying the skills and abilities of the job seeker, and matching these with the needs of employers.

  •       Job support

Effective support on and/or off the job is the fundamental element of Supported Employment which makes it different from regular placement services. Job support also entails follow-up after employment