Mainstream Employment programme

If you have a disability (including a mental health condition) and want to work, you can join our Mainstream Employment programme. It runs for up to one year and can help you get paid work experience and a long-term job.

Our Mainstream programmes

We have 2 Mainstream programmes:

  • Mainstream Employment programme - runs for up to one year
  • Mainstream Internship programme - runs for up to 12 weeks.

If you have a disability and want to work, you can join one of these programmes.

Information about the Mainstream Employment programme is on this page.

  • How the Mainstream Employment Programme works

    Employment Service providers will work with employers to find or create a role that suits your skills and employment goals. They'll place you into the role as paid work experience and you'll train in the job.

    We'll pay some of your wages and help with extra training or costs related to your disability and role.

    How much we pay for your wages is agreed with your employer before your placement starts. You'll get paid the same amount as others doing similar work.

    Ideally, you'll get the opportunity to have an ongoing job at the end of your placement, unless you find another job elsewhere.

  • Who can join

    You can join our employment programme if you:

    • have a disability (including a mental health condition), and
    • are not working right now.

    You also need to:

    • be 16 or older
    • be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
    • normally live in New Zealand
    • have a disability or health condition that:
      • you need extra financial support for, and
      • significantly affects your ability to find work
    • have had the disability for at least 6 months
    • be getting a main benefit, eg:
      • Supported Living Payment
      • Jobseeker support
    • not be getting weekly compensation or vocational rehabilitation from ACC or another organisation.

    We'll also take into account other factors, such as:

    • if you have a qualification and:
      • what level it is
      • when you got it, and
      • if it relates to your role
    • your work history
    • your employee development plan
      • your employer will work with you to create this as part of the application process
    • if the role gives you opportunities for future employment.

    When you don't qualify

    You may not qualify if you've already been in our Mainstream Internship programme.

  • What you can get

    The Employment programme runs for up to one year.

    We'll pay your employer:

    • 80% of your wages for the first 6 months of the programme
    • 50% of your wages for the last 6 months of the programme.

    We may also help with:

    • funding for:
      • external training
      • specialised equipment, or
      • other assistance
    • ongoing support for you and your supervisors.
  • How to join

    Step 1 - Contact your Employment Service provider

    You need to talk to your Employment Service provider. If you don't have one, email us and we'll send you a list of providers you can use.

    They'll talk with you about the type of role that would suit you. Then they'll find an employer to place you with.

    Step 2 - Meet with the employer

    The employer will interview you for the position through their normal hiring process.

    They'll also complete an employee development plan with you. This means they'll talk to you about things like:

    • how they'll support you to develop in the role
    • the number of hours you'll work
    • any training you may need.

    Step 3 - Fill out an application form

    • Your provider will give you an application form to fill out.
    • They'll ask your employer to fill out their section as well.
    • You, the employer and the provider will sign the application form.
    • The provider will send the form to us along with any documents we need, eg:
      • your CV, or
      • quotes for training or equipment.
  • What happens next

    We'll process the application form and check that you and the employer meet the criteria.

    Once we've processed the form, we'll let your provider know the outcome and they'll contact you.

    If it's approved, they'll tell you all the details for your placement, eg, when it will start.