10 Benefits of work for people with intellectual disability

Many studies have shown that working can have a positive impact on the mental and physical well being of people with an intellectual disability. 

There are a wide range of jobs where people with an intellectual disability can thrive, including jobs in open employment. You don’t have to work full time to experience the benefits. 

If you are having trouble finding work that’s right for you, help is available. You may be eligible for government funded support to find and keep jobs for people with an injury, illness or disability.

Below are 10 ways that having a job can benefit you:

1. Have a sense of purpose

Working can give you a sense of purpose and something to do during your week. It helps create structure and routine in your life and can give you a reason to get out of the house.

When you work on something that is meaningful to you, it can improve your mental well being and satisfaction with life. When you work in a team, your contributions matter to other people and this can make you feel valued.

2. Earn money

Working gives you the opportunity to earn money. Having your own money allows you to support yourself financially and save up for things you want to buy. 

Having your own money can help you make decisions about your life and be more independent. Taking control can help you feel you’re living your life the way you want to.

Long term goals like going on a holiday or buying a new car can give you something to work towards and look forward to. Putting money aside for your goals can be satisfying.

3. Learn new skills

Working can help you learn new skills and gain experience. Learning new things is good for your brain and your mental health. It can help you feel interested and engaged at work.

Learning new skills and putting them into practice can help you feel like you’re accomplishing something. It can also make you feel more confident and improve your self esteem.

Gaining new skills and experience can set you up for new opportunities in the future. For example, it might allow you to take on more responsibilities at work, apply for a new job or earn more money.

4. Meet new people

Having a job gives you the opportunity to meet other people, form friendships and improve your support network.

Having meaningful connections with other people is an important part of mental health. 

Workplaces usually have a diverse range of people. Meeting people with experiences and perspectives that are different to your own can be enriching. You can learn about new things, build empathy and improve your social skills.

Working also gives you an opportunity to share your unique experiences and perspective with others. It allows you to use your skills and strengths to benefit others.

5. Work towards your goals

Having a job helps you work towards your short and long term goals. These may include:

  • Employment goals such as working in your dream job or getting a raise
  • Financial goals such as saving to buy something or making more money
  • Personal goals such as making new friends or improving your communication skills

6. Use your skills in a meaningful way

Working gives you the opportunity to use your strengths and skills to help others. Contributing to something bigger can help you feel like you are using your time in a valuable way.

When you work in a role that aligns with your interests and values, it can give you a sense of purpose and meaning. 

7. Improve your mental health

Working in a safe and supportive environment can improve your mental health and well being.

Work provides stability and structure and can help you feel more empowered in your life. It gives you opportunities to grow as a person and become more resilient when challenges arise.

Having a job can give you a sense of purpose and meaning which can improve your mood and outlook on life. Building relationships with others at work can also improve your mental well being.

8. Stay active

A job can help you stay active throughout your week. It gives you a reason to get up and helps provide structure in your day.

Staying active is important for your physical health, but it can also have a positive impact on your mental well being too.

Even if your job isn’t physically demanding, simply travelling to work and moving around the workplace can help you have a more active lifestyle. 

9. Become more independent

Having a job can help you become more independent and responsible. It allows you to take control of your life and make decisions for yourself.

Working helps you to grow as a person and sets you up to achieve your goals. Learning and practising workplace skills can help you take better care of yourself. It also allows you to help others and this can make you feel like you’re contributing in a meaningful way.

10. Grow your confidence

Working can help you feel more confident and boost your self esteem. 

As you learn new things at work, practise your skills and develop relationships, your confidence grows. You learn to trust yourself and feel more prepared to try new things in the future.Whatever your situation, support is available to help you reach your employment goals and experience the benefits of work. Contact a Disability Employment Services provider or call an NDIS Local Area Coordinator to discuss the supports and services in your area.