Employment First

Welcome to Employment First

Want to create a world that truly works for everyone, including people with a disability?

With just a little more effort and commitment, I believe we can. But it’ll start with society understanding the great opportunity we’re missing through not offering employment to those people with a disability, who, with support, are wiling and capable of working full-time in open employment. Through my nearly thirty years in the disability employment services sector, I have trialled many ways to find and maintain meaningful employment for people with disability. Want to get on board?


Martin Wren

Martin Wren has worked in the disability employment service (DES) for 28 years. He started by training in pre-vocational courses for students with disability. Well known for speaking out on the rights of people with disability to find and sustain employment in award-wage jobs that they enjoy, Martin is something of a maverick in the DES field, as he battles from within to change the status quo. 

He knows the secret to ensuring there are jobs for each person with a disability willing and able to work. It’s matching the individual’s aspirations and abilities to available jobs in the community. To do this, disability employment services need to:

Unfortunately, this effective approach towards long-term employment is not widely practiced across the industry. Currently, DES staff are encouraged to place their job seekers into any old role just to ‘get them off the books’. Martin speaks regularly locally, nationally and internationally on the right of every person to ‘become a taxpayer’. 

Over the years he has been humbled by the many men and women he sees striving to achieve taxpayer status, and is proud to have placed over 15,000 job seekers with disability into work. Not single handedly, mind you! As CEO of NOVA Employment, he has been ably assisted by many talented outlet managers, employment consultants, support workers and job coaches.

Martin's Lastest Blogs

Waste of money to start job preparation at year 10

Waste of money to start job preparation at year 10 The NDIA are going to start investing in disability employment services a year earlier, in year 10. This will be a complete waste of effort, time, resources, money ($130 million!) and good will. It won’t make a scrap of difference. Why? Because the

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‘Ruled out’ by disability employment services?

‘Ruled out’ by disability employment services? While I applaud the initiative and determination from the parents of this young man on the autism spectrum, at the same time I am ashamed of the evolution of Disability Employment Services (DES). For background, read this article. But here’s the summary. Brodie’s disability was deemed too

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Attitudinal change leads to meaningful reform

Attitudinal change leads to meaningful reform It’s well known that I’m against quotas. They’re discriminatory, paternalistic and humiliating. And they don’t work! Quite simply, quotas don’t change the number of ‘minority’ people participating in the workforce.  to learn more about this seemingly radical view. But if you’re against quotas, you’ve got to be

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Five steps to workplace inclusion – step 5

Five steps to workplace inclusion – step 5 Support middle management to understand, implement and assess progress So now you’ve: Well done! You’ve created the framework for an inclusive workplace. Now you must support middle management to understand, implement and assess progress. Don’t miss this step. It’s vital. With strong leadership from the

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Five steps to workplace inclusion – step 4

Five steps to workplace inclusion – step 4 Regularly invest in staff training So, you’ve devised and are implementing a well-documented plan. You’re incorporating inclusion principles across all of the business and creating opportunities for cross-functional interaction among the team. If you haven’t already now it’s time to regularly invest in staff­ training.

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Contact Martin

For passionate discussions about how to improve employment services for people with disability, to buy The Ten Demandments or to ask Martin Wren to speak at an event, please get in contact us using the form below.