The Evolution of Customised Employment and the Influence of the NDIS on Customised Employment Practice in Australia

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Customised Employment, NDIS, person-centred practice, discovery, fidelity



Introduction: The New Directions Report (1985) established open employment for persons with a disability as a goal of disability service systems in Australia. Customised Employment is an emerging employment strategy that supports people with complex disabilities to find and obtain employment, while supporting Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Article 27 principles.

Aims: This paper examined the origins and evidence for Customised Employment since the passing of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 and the impact of the NDIS on open employment practice underpinned by Customised Employment.

Method: A literature search of peer-reviewed papers was undertaken using the EBSCO database. This was followed by a review of journals that focused on disability employment. A search of grey literature limited to studies and reports of Australian-based employment was conducted to ensure that all available data was captured. Sixty-seven peer-reviewed papers met the criteria, while only six papers met the criteria within the grey literature search.

Results: The literature supporting Customised Employment and Discovery highlights the work of academics and practitioners in developing the evidence base for practice. While the descriptive studies highlighted the effectiveness of Customised Employment, they failed to meet the threshold for empirical evidence, highlighting the need for a random control trial or correlation studies.

Conclusion: Customised employment is an emerging employment model with promising results that have yet to meet the threshold for evidence-based practice. While the NDIS supports Customised Employment through capacity building and school leaver transition funds, research funding is needed to ensure that it is applied with fidelity to the existing and emerging evidence


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31.07.2023 — Ahead of print updated on 03.10.2023 as final version


How to Cite

Smith, P. (2023). The Evolution of Customised Employment and the Influence of the NDIS on Customised Employment Practice in Australia. Journal of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, 2(2), 1–10. (Original work published July 31, 2023)



Disability Research