The shift towards individualisation in service delivery demands that service providers’ focus on using evidence based employment practices to meet client demands. Customised Employment is one such evidence-based process that supports individualisation, however like other forms of person centred processes, service providers often adopt the term but not the full process leading to failures and loss of confidence in the Customised Employment Process. Customised Employment is an evidence-based process that is underpinned by the “Discovery” process. The Discovery process in the USA is a federally mandated employment process for disability and rehabilitation service providers. The Centre for Disability Employment Research and Practice in collaboration with University of Melbourne have undertaken research into Customised Employment and the “Discovery” process and the recently released “Discovery Fidelity Scale” to determine it’s fidelity within the Australian setting. The purpose of developing a Discovery Fidelity Scale of recommended practices is to encourage Discovery implementation in a more consistent manner. The development of this fidelity scale in the USA relied significantly on two national organizations, Griffin-Hammis Associates (GHA), and Mark Gold and Associates (MGA). These two organisations have thoroughly defined Discovery and are knowledgeable trainers and teachers of Discovery, Customized Employment, and Open Employment. In addition to the exemplary Discovery teachings of these two organisations, this project incorporated the perspectives of Florida practitioners of Discovery to create a scalable method to determine fidelity practice to Discovery. Using a panel of Australian and US subject matter experts and practitioners, the Discovery and Discovery Fidelity Scale documents were examined in detail to determine what, if any changes may be needed to ensure applicability to the Australian setting. This presentation will discuss the evidence base for Customised Employment and some of the results from the research into Discovery and the Discovery Fidelity Scale in the Australian context, along with the potential advantages of adopting evidence based practices with clients.

Peter Smith

Centre for Disability Employment Research and Practice

Mr Peter Smith (MHlthSc, BAppSocSc) is the Director of the Centre for Disability Employment Research and Practice, recently completing a PhD in the area of disability employment at the Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney. Peter has an extensive work background with people with disabilities and others with significant barriers to inclusion in society, having worked as a disability support worker, counsellor in Disability Employment Services and Job Services consultant. In recent years he has worked with the disability peak bodies and community groups throughout Asia, Pacific and North American settings. He has contributed to a number of government inquiries into disability and employment. His primary interest is the practical application of evidence based practices to solve community and individual problems, with a focus on disability employment. His current work focuses on developing a dynamic model of practice for disability employment utilising the evidence based customised employment process.

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