Mainstream programmes - information for Employment Service providers

Our Mainstream programmes help people with a disability or health condition, including mental health and neurodiversity into work. As a contracted Employment Service provider, you'll work with the client and employer to find a suitable role for them and provide ongoing support.

As well as Mainstream, there are other supports available to help people into work. These include Flexi-wage and Mana in Mahi.

  • About the Mainstream programmes

    These programmes support people with disabilities or health conditions, including mental health and neurodiversity, to get paid work experience. Ideally the client would also get the chance to stay on in an ongoing role after their placement, if the employer decides to offer this.

    If you support a client to join one of these programmes, you'll:

    • work with employers to find or create a role that suits the client's skills and capabilities
    • place the client into the role as paid work experience and they'll train on the job
    • provide ongoing support to the client and the employer while the client is on placement.

    There are three Mainstream programmes:

    Mainstream Employment programme:

    • For clients who are getting a main benefit from us, and have a disability or health condition which significantly affects their ability to find work, which they need extra financial support for.
    • We'll pay the employer 80% of the client's wages for the first six months, and 50% of the client's wages for the remaining six months. The placement runs for up to one year.
    • We'll help with funding for:
      • training outside of work that's not usually provided to other employees
      • specialised equipment if the client needs it because of their disability
      • other assistance related to the client's disability, eg transport.

    Mainstream Internship programme:

    • For clients of Be.Lab. If the client wants to apply for this programme you can refer the client to Be.Lab if they're not already clients with them. Clients enrolled with a different Employment Service provider will need to be placed on hold by that provider until their internship placement has ended.
    • We'll pay the client's full wages to their employer while the client is on placement, for up to 12 weeks.
    • For clients in their last two years of study, or have finished full-time study in the last 12 months.
    • The client will get an opportunity to work in a field related to their study.

    Mainstream Paid Work Experience programme:

    • For clients of Be.Lab. If the client wants to apply for this programme you can refer the client to Be.Lab if they're not already clients with them. Clients enrolled with a different Employment Service provider will need to be placed on hold by that provider until their work experience placement has ended.
    • For clients starting work in an industry they haven't worked in before.
    • We'll pay the client's full wages to their employer while the client is on placement, for up to 16 weeks.

    Ideally the client would also get the chance to stay on in an ongoing role after their placement, if the employer decides to offer this.

  • What you need to do

    Step 1. Check which programme is right for the client:

    First, check if there's anything else available that could support them into work, for example Flexi-wage or Mana-in Mahi. If they don't qualify for anything else, you can support them to join one of the Mainstream programmes.

    Talk with the client about which Mainstream programme is right for them.

    Step 2. Find a suitable job for the client:

    Talk with the client to find out what their skills and capabilities are. Then you can work with employers to find a position that's a good fit.

    Positions can be created or adapted to the client's skills and capabilities, while meeting the needs of the employer.

    It's important to encourage employers to use their usual recruitment and performance management practices.

    Step 3. Manage the application process:

    Once you've found a suitable position, ask the client and employer to complete the application form. All contracted Employer Service providers have been emailed a copy of this form.

    You need to check that:

    • the application form is completed in full, and
    • you, the client and employer have signed the form.

    In the form, the employer needs to:

    • confirm how much the client will be paid (they should get the same amount as others doing similar work)
    • for Mainstream Employment programme applications the employer also needs to confirm what other funding they need , eg training, equipment or costs related to the client's disability that the employer would not usually provide. The employer needs to provide quotes for these.

    Please make sure the application is completed in full, this will help us confirm the client meets the criteria for funding and makes it easier for us to draft a contract with the employer.

    Step 4. Send the application form to us:

    Email the application form, with any documents we need, to mainstream@msd.govt.nz

    There's a list of the supporting documents we'll need at the start of the application form.

    The application form needs to be sent at least 21 working days before the client is due to start their placement. The application must be approved by us before the client starts work.

    We'll process the application and let you know the outcome. Once you know the outcome, you can contact the client and employer to let them know. You'll need to reconfirm the placement details with them at the same time.

    Step 5. Provide ongoing support:

    While the client is on placement, you'll need to:

    • help them with orientation in the workplace if they need it
    • have catch ups as needed with them to see how they're going
    • support them and the employer with any issues that may come up
    • identify any employment opportunities for them while they're on placement.

    Step 6. Complete progress reports:

    We may ask you provide a progress report to us every three months to tell us how the client is going. We'll send you a report template once the application is approved and we'll let you know if we need you to fill in this report.

  • Questions or concerns

    If you have any questions or concerns you can email us at mainstream@msd.govt.nz