Trying to find a job when you have an intellectual disability can be frustrating. You may have felt overlooked by employers and not valued for your skills and strengths. It’s hard to get a job if you’re not given a fair go. But if you want to work, there is certainly a job out there for you.
Did you know working can be good for you?
Most of us know that working means you earn money and can pay for more things. Working also has many benefits that can help you feel good inside. Some other benefits of working are:
- You get out more
- You meet other people
- You have something important to do
- You are part of something
- You learn new skills
- You feel more confident
- You become more independent
Job ideas for people with an intellectual disability
Like you, at Workplace Learning Solutions (WLS), we know that everyone is different. You have interests, abilities and challenges that are personal to you. It’s important to find a job that is suitable for you. If you are looking for a job, you should take time to think about what your interests, strengths and challenges are. Ask yourself these questions:
- What am I good at?
- What skills do I have? What things do I know how to do?
- What do I like doing? What am I interested in?
- What work environment do I need?
- What are my challenges?
After you have thought about your interests, strengths and challenges, you can brainstorm what jobs might be suitable for you.
Here are some great job ideas:
- Jobs with routine. If you work best with routine, you might work well in a factory as a process worker. Process workers have routine tasks such as preparing equipment, packing products and processing orders.
- Artistic jobs. If you’re artistic and creative, you might like to work as a designer, photographer or illustrator. These jobs require you to be creative, organized and good at communicating with others.
- Working with animals. If you like animals, you might be a great animal career. You could get a job walking dogs, working at a kennel or assisting a veterinarian.
- Do you have an eye for details? If you notice small details, you might be good at cleaning. Cleaners can work in lots of settings such as offices, schools and restaurants.
- Jobs outside. If you like being outdoors, you might like being a gardener or a nursery worker. Your tasks might include looking after plants, maintaining gardens and mowing lawns.
- Are you organized? If you’re organized, you could be a good administration assistant. Administration assistants do tasks such as printing, photocopying and filing.
How to get started finding a job if you’re living with an intellectual disability
There are many ways to find a job. If you are having trouble finding a job, try to use a range of job searching techniques.
You can find a job by:
- Searching on the internet
- Asking people that you know
- Getting help from a Disability Employment Services (DES) provider
Looking for a job can be hard and it often takes a long time. It can feel discouraging when you can’t find a suitable job. Sometimes all you need is a bit of help.
How to do well in a job interview
In an interview, an employee will ask questions to see if they want to hire you. In an interview, you should:
- Explain how you can add value to the company
- Describe your strengths and good qualities
- Acknowledge your challenges
Interviews often make people feel nervous. If you are feeling worried about an interview, here are some tips:
- Practice answering common interview questions such as ‘Why do you want to work here?’ and ‘What can you bring to the role?’
- Research the company and think of some questions to ask the employer. This shows the employer that you care about the job.
- Focus on now and try not to worry about what could go wrong. Take one step at a time.
- Practice confidence, even if you don’t feel it. Picture yourself being calm and collected in the interview.
- Try to get a good night’s sleep before the interview.
- Once the interview is over, treat yourself to something nice. However the interview went, you made it through. That’s worth celebrating.
Managing in the workplace with an intellectual disability
Sometimes work is challenging when you have an intellectual disability. If you are finding work hard, help is available. WLS helps people with intellectual disabilities manage in the workplace and stay in their job. When you register for Ticket to Work Program services with WLS, you can get support to keep working.
Support in the workplace can:
- Make things easier for you
- Help you keep your job
- Help you learn new skills more quickly
- Help you feel more confident
WLS can help you talk with your employer about what you need. Your employer might make workplace adjustments to support you.
Workplace adjustments could be:
- Giving you work activities with repetitive steps
- Finding a work buddy who can support you
- Providing special equipment to help you do your job
- Using pictures and prompts to help you remember your tasks
- Giving you verbal instructions rather than written instructions
WLS can help you with:
- Finding job opportunities that suit you
- Brainstorming job types that suit you
- Writing your resume
- Preparing for job interviews
- Training for skills that make you more employable
- Support so you can keep working with confidence
- We believe there is a job out there for everyone and we want to see you managing the world of work with confidence.
Ready to find work? Let’s get started!