Transition Discussion Panel questions

Transition Expo – Live Panel

Q&A responses

Thank you for joining our live panel on “What will be available when I leave school in 2024?”

As we didn’t get the time to answer all submitted questions during the live event, here are responses from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Development and Tertiary Education Commision for the questions we couldn’t get to.

If you’re preparing or helping someone prepare for adulthood, don’t forget to check out our free Transition Expo on 7 September. For more information, click here.

Our teenager has autism and is also deaf. We are currently homeschooling and live in a rural community. Besides the support and care we give as parents, what else is out there to support him to gain independence, skills, employment and community involvement?

How do I fill his days with meaningful activity when we work from home and have three other children? We are considering self-employment options for the future, but also want to be careful he’s not too isolated and learns to be and work with people other than us. Any tips or ideas?

Ministry of Social Development:
The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) contracts external contractors to deliver Employment Services in each region to help people with disabilities or health conditions to identify employment goals, gain and retain employment in the open employment market.
With the on-set of the COVID-19 pandemic, some providers of MSD Community Participation programmes have pivoted their activity programmes to provide online activities, creative activities and tutorials that can be accessed remotely, in regions where a provider has capacity to enrol additional participants into their service.

Ministry of Health:
In addition to support to access community participation activities through MSD, engagement with the local Needs Assessment and Service Coordination Service (NASC) will enable a process to understand specific support needs and options available to support meaningful choices and goals. For further understanding of the NASC role and contact details for all local NASC providers, check out our website.

When is Enabling Good Lives (EGL) available to people outside Christchurch/Waikato?

Ministry of Health:
There has been a commitment to scaling EGL across Aotearoa New Zealand. Although this process will begin in July 2022, it will take at least four or five years to build to full strength across all regions. Unfortunately at this time we are not able to give details about timeframes for how and when EGL will become active outside of Christchurch, the Waikato and Mid-Central.

In this context, it’s also important to acknowledge that people do not need to wait for EGL to ‘come to their region’. Enabling Good Lives is essentially a set of principles, and we encourage all families and organisations to strive to work to these principles, and to encourage and challenge one another on this journey. It might be that you could find a way to begin these conversations with your NASC staff and with service providers you are currently involved with.

The non-verbal community needs a parent/guardian voice at the table of the new Ministry of Disabled People. Will this happen? It needs to happen to ensure the funding is there for the high and complex communities. Complex disability needs a deeper understanding of need and only those who know them best can speak on their behalf.

Ministry of Health:
No decisions have been made yet about the governance and partnership framework for the new Ministry or how the voices of family/whānau will input into decision making going forward. The Establishment Unit is preparing advice on options for governance, partnerships and voice mechanism which will be informed by the community steering group and other groups. This advice will be provided to the incoming Chief Executive for their consideration.

To help inform our advice, we are guided by a community steering group that includes family/whānau representation, as well as a representative that has non-verbal lived experience. Members of the community steering group were chosen by the community and not by officials. This advice will result in information for the new Chief Executive to take forward.

To support our overall engagement with the sector on these issues, we have contracted the disability owned, run and led communications agency called ‘All is for All’ to support and amplify the existing community engagement mechanisms. We would very much welcome your contribution through our new social engagement platform AmplifyU.

If you would like to keep up to date with the Establishment Unit, you can subscribe to receive regular updates by emailing or you can also follow our Facebook page.

Is there an option of part time residential care, i.e., 3 days a week?

Ministry of Health:
At present, under current residential contracting arrangements, part time residential care is not catered for. However, as funding moves to a more choices-driven, flexible approach, other funding avenues may be explored to meet a specific need. Connection to the local Needs Assessment and Service Coordination (NASC) will enable discovery of what a family/disabled person is looking to achieve.

It seems there are people setting up small businesses around their child – are there any start-up supports for this?

Ministry of Health:
At this time, there is no specific funding available to support business start-up. There are a number of online groups that provide mutual support, many of these through Facebook and running independent of the Ministry of Health. The System Transformation Programme is in the process of developing a workforce strategy for disability support. This will include a focus on disabled people and family/whānau workforce. The strategy is expected to be complete in late 2022, at which time we’ll be able to respond in more detail.

Ministry of Social Development:
Some MSD-contracted Employment Service providers are sufficiently skilled or have the appropriate contacts to assist their enrolled participants to set up a small business. Two examples are CCS Disability Action and the Dunedin Community Care Trust.

There is also an agency called Improving Life Outcomes that specialises in assisting clients to set up Social Enterprises.

I am doing a course at the National Trade Academy. I am Deaf and need an interpreter. Due to shortages in Christchurch, we cannot find an interpreter, so I have to sit without access to the information. How can we fix this? Is it acceptable?

Tertiary Education Commission:
Ideally all learners with New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) needs would be able to have interpreters to support their learning. Unfortunately, as you have found, there are resourcing shortages across the country that mean this cannot always be achieved.

While an interpreter is not available, the Academy will need to make every possible provision to provide the learning material for you in alternative formats. For example, a video with subtitles for demonstrations of practical learning, or written material for course-work learning. The Academy should be in discussion with you about the most suitable formats for provision of alternative materials to allow you to access the learning in the course.

Longer term, the education sector is hoping to see technological solutions around interpreter provision (such as the Kara Technologies work), however in the shorter term, provision of alternative format learning materials is likely to be necessary where NZSL provision gaps exist.

Ministry of Health:
Christchurch is a unique area and generally iSign has to work very hard to satisfy demand. We compete with the local DHB who operate their own interpreter booking service and this provides a challenge to allocating a limited number of interpreters, as things are not able to be coordinated efficiently with no oversight or priority available. The other demand is from the Deaf school in the region – Ko Taku Reo, which although has its own pool of interpreters, often reaches out into our pool of contracted interpreters.

There may be interpreters who are already assisting in providing education support and they may be able to coordinate any additions to their workload, however we have no control over this. EGL Christchurch responded stating technology to access online interpreters is a possibility; “we have a Deaf colleague who often has online interpreters from across NZ interpret at our meetings”.

Will more community day/vocational services be available for the people/whānau that want/need this service? There are so few options and spaces in Auckland.

Disability Connect:
Our panellists have informed that provision for more community day/vocational services will depend on the roll out of Enabling Good Lives under the new Ministry for Disabled People which commences on 1st of July 2022.

For those unable (or not needing to) work, how do we ensure that entrance criteria/assessments are transparent and fair? There are limited options and some of those places are not very transparent about their criteria. It’s very subjective and not based on a proper review or understanding of the young person.

Tertiary Education Commission:
If young people are wishing to access tertiary education, but are unsure of the entrance requirements, there are several steps they can take:

  1. Websites for tertiary organisations have a good amount of detail regarding the entry criteria for their courses, so this is a good place to start.
  2. Enrollment teams at tertiary organisations are experts at helping students work out what courses they are able to enrol in – once a young person has an idea of what might interest them, it is best to call the tertiary organisation and ask to speak to someone about help with course selection/enrolling.
  3. If a young person is interested in the Skills for Living/Working courses offered at some polytechnic locations (now part of the Te Pukenga network) there may be number caps on these courses, so it’s a good idea to enquire early.
  4. If a student has behavioural issues, it is likely to be more difficult to find a tertiary education option (tertiary organisations require students to behave in a way which does not disrupt the learning environment for other learners, especially for courses people are paying for). However, there are some private training establishments that have supportive environments for students who find classroom spaces challenging – we recommend you ask around your networks and contact private training establishments near you to find out more. Most of these organisations offer free training courses for younger learners.
  5. Tertiary organisations are not able to provide personal care type support for their learners – so if a young person needs this type of support through the day they will need to organise it from other resources. Tertiary organisations can provide learning support with assistive technology, accommodations and support with study skills.

What are the transition supports towards employment?

Ministry of Social Development:
MSD has for many years contracted providers to deliver Transition from School services for ORS Very High Needs and High Needs students.

MSD and Ministry of Education (MoE) have jointly initiated a pilot programme that currently ends in December 2022 in some designated regions. This pilot, Employment Service in Schools, is available to ORS students and students who have a disability, health condition, mental illness or neurodiversity that will last longer than six months. Support is provided for the last two years at school to help prepare for life, further education, employment and careers post schooling. This service is not available to students who are homeschooled.

Tertiary Education Commission:
Where a learner has attended a tertiary organisation which provides courses such as Skills for Work and Living, those organisations work with the young person to help support them into work experience, and work placements as part of the course. These experiences can help young people pathway into work following the completion of their course. Many of the tertiary organisations who offer these courses have good community networks and can use these to help learners in their courses seek work opportunities at the end of their study.

As schools, we have a lot of pressure on us to transition students out successfully without the right resources or training. What else can be done to support schools to do this well? We want the best for our learners and their families.

Tertiary Education Commission:
Most tertiary organisations will have staff who can help develop a support plan for a student who has higher support needs as they start in tertiary education. When students are leaving school to attend a tertiary organisation, the school can always directly contact the tertiary organisation to discuss any support needs the student had at school, and how these might apply at the tertiary organisation.