A taste of life in the workplace for students with a disability

How one regional town is supporting the development of young people with a disability.

For most people, work is an essential part of life, a means of support, a sense of worth and accomplishment, and potentially overall life satisfaction. Unfortunately, a distinct number of students with a disability, chronic achievement problems or students with Emotional Disturbances (ED), do not go on to experience steady, rewarding or satisfying employment.

Consequently, compared to their ‘nondisabled peers’, students with disabilities are more likely to experience unemployment or underemployment, lower pay, and job dissatisfaction.

Karratha Senior High School student Ezra, participated in the work placement with Programmed.

These heartbreaking statistics show that a critical need exists to re-examine programs for students with learning disabilities at the secondary level and to consider more relevant, innovative options to prepare them for various aspects of life post high school.

One obvious option is preparation for entering the work world through work placements. Working with Australian high schools, businesses of all sizes can better engage and support these students by helping identify their strengths and interests and providing them with the skills they need to succeed in the workplace.

Programmed is an advocate for encouraging social development and building confidence within individuals with a disability. The Programmed Karratha branch, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, plays host to local high school students as part of a work placement partnership. As part of our ongoing commitment to the Karratha community, our local branch developed a work placement partnership with Karratha Senior High School that sees those hosting special needs students for a work placement during the term.

The intent of the placement is to provide the student with a taste of life in the workplace, encouraging social development and increased confidence. Since the program started, several students like Kaitlyn and Ezra have participated. Kaitlyn, who is mildly autistic, excelled in the administration challenges and participated in her work placement with enthusiasm and a cheerful smile!

Programmed Account Manager Alisa said “It can be quite daunting for these young people to come into a workplace so we tailor the experience to each of them based on their interests and confidence levels”.

“We look forward to having these students in the Branch every Wednesday morning, and seeing how they grow’ she said.

Emma Tunstead, Education Assistant and Workplace Learning Coordinator at Karratha Senior High School said the Workplace Learning Program has been running for ten years and has provided students with the skills and confidence to succeed in the workplace.

“Programmed has been a valuable contributor to this program, providing a friendly and welcoming work environment for the students.”

“The challenges can be adapted to suit their ability, creating a successful outcome for the student and employer. Karratha Senior High School would like to thank and acknowledge Programmed for their ongoing generous support”, said Emma.

At Programmed, we’re proud of the role we play in helping build sustainable communities through employment.

Programs like this one with Karratha Senior High School, help give focus to these special needs students, preparing them for work or post-school training and helping create a diverse and inclusive workforce for the future.


Programmed is a leading Staffing and Maintenance organisation, providing staffing, professional, technical, training and maintenance services across Australia and New Zealand with more than 20,000 employees supporting industry.

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About Programmed


Programmed is a leading provider of operations and maintenance services across Australia and New Zealand. Our business model is built around our ability to recruit, deploy, manage and maintain a large, directly employed workforce of professional, skilled and semi-skilled staff with a wide range of capabilities. We are proud to efficiently serve more than 10,000 customers every day.

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