In this qualitative study seventy-six Australian employment specialists who predominantly work with individuals with psychiatric disabilities were classified as either higher or lower performers based on their job-seekers' employment outcomes. Key differentiating practices related to job seeker engagement and support, were identified between higher and lower performers when assisting individuals with psychiatric disabilities. A range of specific practices were identified that promise to inform future training of employment specialists to better engage and support job seekers. Investigations of measurement reliability and predictive validity are now needed to quantify the extent that these specific engagement and support practices can translate into better employment outcomes for job seekers with psychiatric disabilities.

Geoffrey Waghorn

Senior Research and Innovation Consultant
The ORS Group

Dr Waghorn is now a Senior Research and Innovation consultant with the ORS Group. He previously worked full time in vocational rehabilitation research for people with illnesses and disabilities for over 20 years. He has been involved in the publication of over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles reporting original research findings. Projects have included multisite randomised controlled trials, systematic reviews and meta-analyses, population level surveys, and smaller sample studies using both quantitative and qualitative methods. The research goals have included developing and trialling the systems, measures, and interventions needed to help people with psychiatric, and other disabilities, to become active and included members of the wider community. One interesting and recent direction has involved exploring and documenting the expertise of employment consultants when working with people with psychiatric disabilities in the Australian DES system.

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