Work and study

Most people with disabilities don’t require additional support to work. But even so, only half of all disabled adults are in the labour force. That compares to three-quarters of non-disabled adults.

Increasing the number of disabled people in the workforce is important. Inclusive workplaces utilise the untapped talents of disabled people and better reflect our communities. Most importantly, employment brings better outcomes for people with disabilities through increased incomes and quality of life.

In this section we look at places people can find help to participate in work or study.

Career guidance

Anyone starting out, or looking to change careers, should check out Careers New Zealand for information about choosing a career and finding training options. There are also lots of tips to help with job hunting. 

Looking for a job

Some newspapers still print job listings, but the best place to look for work is online. Try searching for jobs at Seek or at Trade Me Jobs.

Work and Income also has a database of job listings. Users don’t have to be Work and Income clients, but will have to register to use the service.

Work and Income provide other types of support to help find work and meet the costs of starting a new job. Read our page about support from Work and Income.

There are a number of organisations around New Zealand that support disabled people to find employment. Read our page about employment organisations that help disabled people find work and provide access to job support funding.

Modifications to the workplace and assistive equipment can make it easier for people with disabilities to do their job. Read our page about workplace modification.

All employees have rights and responsibilities. Read more about rights at work and what to do if employee rights have been breached.

Learning skills for work

Literacy Aotearoa can provide support to adults who would like to improve their literacy skills. Some polytechnics and institutes of technology also provide free courses on things like literacy and basic computing.

Adult Community Education (ACE) courses provide an opportunity to learn new skills and meet people, and there are lots of things you can learn, from art and music, to computing, cooking and gardening. Find ACE providers throughout New Zealand.

Some people may benefit from volunteering or interning. Read our page about gaining work experience. Others may wish to pursue tertiary study. Read our page about support while studying, including information on student loans, allowances and scholarships.

Information for employers

Employers who would like to make their workplace more inclusive can get advice from the following organisations:

Diversity Works NZ (formerly Equal Employment Opportunities Trust)

Be.Employed is an initiative of Be.Accessible, that helps employers to identify and remove the barriers in their organisation to becoming a fully accessible employer.

The Lead Toolkit from the Ministry of Social Development provides information and resources to guide businesses on employing disabled people.

There is also information available from Employment New Zealand.