Leaving school is an exciting time in a young person’s life, but it’s also a big change that many find daunting. School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES) aim to make the transition from school to employment as smooth as possible for young people with disability and prepare them for the workforce.

These personalised supports offer lots of flexibility, allowing young people to create their own, unique pathway to employment based on their situation, skills, and support needs.

What is SLES?

SLES is a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funded support. It’s designed to assist young people find meaningful employment once they leave school by building their skills, independence, and confidence.

SLES goes deeper than simply finding a person a job. It’s about laying the foundations a young person will need to engage with employers now and into their future - and building their capacity to live an independent life.

While SLES supports are tailored to the individual’s situation, support needs, and employment goals, some skills that SLES can help develop include:

  • Communicating in social and workplace situations

  • Computer literacy

  • Accounting and basic money management

  • Resume writing and interview skills

  • Strategies to find suitable job opportunities

  • Working in a team

  • Understanding workplace culture

  • Time management

  • Employee Rights and Responsibilities

Who is eligible for SLES?   

SLES is available to NDIS participants who are about to leave, or have recently left, school and would like some extra assistance making the transition to working life.

While the supports are typically aimed at year 12 students, anyone who’s legally old enough to leave school can access them. This is usually around year 10, but this varies depending on which state or territory you’re living in. In most cases, the cut-off age for SLES eligibility is 22.

How does SLES funding work?

SLES is included in NDIS support category 10 funding, Finding and Keeping a Job.
The funding is delivered annually for a maximum of two years, with participants getting a lump sum of around $22,000 that they can spend on supports over the year.

Rather than charge an hourly rate, SLES service providers and participants will agree on a schedule of activities for the year and a fair price. This should be recorded in a service agreement to avoid any misunderstandings in the future.

Who provides SLES supports?

There are lots of service providers that deliver SLES supports. Some cover a wide range of skills designed to get people ready for work, while others specialise in a key area; for example, travelling to and from work.

Participants can use their SLES funding to engage with multiple service providers, allowing them to pick and mix the ones that are most suited to them, and they feel can support them in achieving their employment and independence goals.

SLES is often paired with support coordination, as it involves creating a program of supports that will work together towards an overall employment goal. Support coordinators work closely with participants to put together a tailored SLES package that’s right for them and then help them select and connect with the best providers.

What's the difference between SLES and DES?

There are some similarities between SLES and DES (Disability Employment Services), as both are focused on creating pathways to employment. DES can be thought of as the next step on that journey, for those who are ready to enter the workforce, but still need some support finding and keeping a job. It’s available to anyone with a disability or health condition, even if they’re not an NDIS participant, and there are no age limits.

A key goal of SLES is to build the capacity of participants so they’re ready to transition to DES.