Aims: The National Disability Insurance Scheme is designed to influence economic participation outcomes. However, people with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) traditionally experience low employment rates, compared to other Australians. To positively impact economic participation following ABI, a co-design approach was used to investigate employment pathways.
Method: People with lived experience of ABI and a project manager were employed in research roles to: 1) Review existing pathways, understanding enablers and barriers, to employment following ABI; and 2) Use ABI lived experience, allied health and social insurer expertise to develop, pilot and evaluate a new pathway to mainstream employment, ‘Employment CoLab’.
Results: Enablers and barriers to employment of people with ABI were documented. Co-design helped to identify practical strategies to facilitate workplace diversity and inclusion. This guided the development of the new employment pathway, tailored for people with ABI. Qualitative evaluation indicated ‘Employment CoLab’ offered a coordinated, effective team approach to gain and sustain open employment and wages. Funding sources for, and barriers and enablers to, mainstream employment have been considered in a strategy to scale this pathway for future access by others.
Conclusions: The new pathway has opened up opportunities to build inclusive and sustainable economic participation by people with ABI.

Em Bould
Monash University

Libby Callaway
Monash University

Libby Witts
Monash University

Scott Thomas
Monash University

Sarah Johnstone
Transport Accident Commission

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