Employment after SCI

After a spinal cord injury, life can often be uncertain and overwhelming, especially when considering returning to work. While life may seem far from normal, there are plenty of resources and pathways you can take to help you make your way back into the workforce. 

To any individual, employment brings significant benefits. It can be a source of financial autonomy, independence and social participation. There is a positive correlation between employment and quality of life after SCI, as it can increase a person’s mental and physical wellbeing.  

The employment process can be daunting for many people, so we’ve put together some tips to navigate employment after SCI. 

Returning to your current workplace and employer:

 

Initiate conversations

  • It’s important to initiate conversations with your current employer about how your capacity for work has changed due to your spinal cord injury. Prior to this conversation, it’s also important to sit down with your doctor or healthcare professional about what your capacity for work may be. This can differ from person-to-person and can change your personal expectations. Along with your employer, a healthcare professional will also help you map out a ‘return to work’ plan to ensure you can complete your role to the best of your abilities. 

 

 

Starting a new job/role

  • For most people who have a job pre-spinal cord injury and wants to return, it takes them an average of 28 months, while for someone who wants to find a job after SCI, it takes them an average of 59 months to secure employment). It is definitely more difficult but not entirely impossible. 
  • Being unable to return to a physically demanding job is a common reason to start anew. A common pathway is returning to study. Many people choose to learn a new career path that fits with their new lifestyle. There are plenty of careers that are well suited for people in a wheelchair. 
  • Have a read through this article, ‘Great job ideas for wheelchair users’.

 

 

WISE Employment Services

  • WISE Employment services provide NDIS support services to individuals who are searching for employment. 
  • The WISE Ways to Work program is an NDIS-registered support service that offers both group and individual support to help prepare for work and plan their journey towards employment. It provides resources to help identify what pathways individuals can pursue and establish a community with which to continue the journey. 
  • The WISE Ways to Work program is held on the last Thursday of every month (except December) and can be joined in person at the WISE Employment office in Melbourne or via the telehealth service.
  • For more information about the WISE Ways to Work program, visit: https://wiseemployment.com.au/wise-ways-work/

 

References:

https://disabilityemployment.org.au/ 
https://www.spire.org.au/resources/pathways-to-employment-post-sci/typical-pathways-to-employment-post-sci/ 
https://worksupport.com/documents/armstrong_JVR2006%2825%29.pdf 
https://wiseemployment.com.au/events/wise-ways-to-work-info-sessions/