ELITE Supported Employment

What is Supported Employment?

Supported Employment is an evidence-based and personalised approach to support people with disabilities into real jobs. Supported Employment promotes social and economic inclusion and allows participants to fulfil their employment goals. It can start from aged 14 by providing meaningful work experience and weekend jobs, as part of a person-centred employment pathway. The Supported Employment model can be adapted to suit the support needs of individuals with a range of disabilities or disadvantage.

ELITE Supported Employment Triangle of Needs

Source: BASE – British Association of Supported Employment

Supported Employment should achieve the following outcomes


Real jobs where people can earn equitable wages and other employment related benefits


Development of new skills


Social and economic inclusion


Promotion of self-determination, choice and independence


Enhanced self-esteem


Increased consumer empowerment


Increased quality of life where people are treated fairly and with respect.


Real jobs are those where:

  • Wages are paid at the going rate for the job, with the same terms and conditions as other employees
  • The job helps the person to meet their life goals and aspirations
  • The role is valued by managers and colleagues
  • The job has similar hours and times at work as other employees, with safe working conditions

Real jobs are provided by different types of employers across the private, public and third sectors. This also includes self-employment, where a disabled individual may need access to specialist support for advice on business start-up, help to spot commercial opportunities and to test and refine the proposition, help to launch the venture and help to grow the business. The overarching guiding principle of Supported Employment is that it is designed to support individuals who do not necessarily meet traditional criteria for 'job readiness' or 'employability'.

Fundamental to Supported Employment is that everyone can work, with the right job and the right support. Supported Employment services should be able to offer a nil rejection policy, as everyone should have the opportunity to work and contribute to society.


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