Seamless Journeys to Work for Young Adults with Physical Disabilities

Seamless Journeys

In Australia, young people with disabilities have lower workforce participation than their peers. Furthermore, little is known about the role of online and mobile technologies in daily experiences, rhythms, and contexts of everyday journeys to work of people with disabilities. This project addressed this important issue by examining emergent workers’ (young people with physical disabilities aged 15- 24) lived experiences.

As part of the ARC Linkage Seamless Journeys to Work project, we have developed an e-Pub “Seamless Journeys to Work for Young Adults with Physical / Neurological Disabilities” which is intended for widespread dissemination among disability organizations. This publication contains a lay-language summary of all our project outputs, providing organizations with a concise and accessible means of utilizing our work.  To download this free resource – please click the image below.

Project Overview

Supported with an Australian Council Research (ARC) Linkage grant (LP 150100168), this project investigated emergent workers’ (young people with physical disabilities aged 15-24) transitions to work and the role self-service technologies play in improving choice and self-determination. Our aim was to help make the transition to work more seamless for young people with physical disabilities (aged 15-24 years) by broadening our understanding of their lived experiences of transitioning to work, by identifying interventions to improve online service delivery enables choice and self-determination in their journeys to work.

Our findings indicate that:

  • our policy landscape is still inefficient, more needs to be done to provide a holistic, transparent program to get young people with a disability into the workplace
  • young people with disabilities often create their own creative resistance to get the system to work for them – this is not always enough to play within the boundaries given by society and employers
  • the role of support from friends, family and employers as well as individual drive or motivation are key to successfully journeying to work
  • the provision of online technology can create opportunities for young people with disabilities – both to help them in their journey to work and also in the workplace
  • the amount of effort it takes for young people with disabilities to take a journey that is not routine presents a critical need – planning journeys to work require connecting a variety of services to better support new journeys
  • seamless journeys to work can be enabled at policy level and at service provision – this requires a transformative approach to service design

Promoting self-determination and people’s choice to enhance workforce participation is key in Australia’s policy reforms around disability services. We aspire that the results of this research will provide key data to policy stakeholders and a model for enhanced delivery of services supporting access to employment.

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Project Details

This Seamless Journeys to Work research explored the complexity of transitioning to work for emergent workers using a mixed methods transformative multiphase design. With a systems approach, our research entailed an in-depth and multi-disciplinary understanding of the complexity of the journey to work of an under-researched group: young people with disabilities transitioning to work.

Framed by the Interactional Model of Disability, the Ecological Systems Theory and the Motivation, Opportunity and Ability framework, our research design consisted of three distinct sequential data gathering stages. The fourth stage focused on applied research, where a part of the research findings informed a Post Occupancy Evaluation (P.O.E) strategy to support a Transformative Service Design (TSD) approach to online services. The following diagram summarises the stages and methods.






Project Outcomes


Chamorro-Koc, M., Beatson, A., Amaral, C., Stafford, Lisa., Marston, G., Adkins, B. (2020). “Connecting the dots for Seamless Journeys to work: from lived experiences to seamless scenarios of mobility.” In Christer, K., C. Craig and P. Chamberlain, eds. 2020. Vol. 1 of Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Design4Health, Amsterdam, 2020. Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam University.

Chamorro-Koc, M., Beatson, A., Amaral, C., Tuzovic, S., Stafford, L., & Marston, G. (2020). Seamless journeys to work: A multifaceted approach to exploring daily journeys to work experiences of young people with disabilitiesProceedings of DRS2020 Synergy. Vol. 3 Co-Creation., 1201-1215.

Beatson, A., Riedel, A., Chamorro-Koc, M., Marston, G., & Stafford, L. (2020). Increasing the independence of vulnerable consumers through social supportJournal of Services Marketing.

Beatson, A., Riedel, A., Chamorro-Koc, M., Marston, G., & Stafford, L. (2020). Encouraging young adults with a disability to be independent in their journey to work: A segmentation and application of Theory of Planned Behaviour approachHeliyon6(2), e03420.

Amaral, C., Chamorro-Koc, M., Beatson, A., & Tuzovic, S. (2020). When mobility becomes a challenge: A human-centred approach to understand the needs of people with disabilities. In 11th SERVSIG 2020 Conference-High Tech and High Touch: The Future of Human Service.

Beatson, A., Riedel, A., Chamorro-Koc, M., Marston, G., & Stafford, L. (2019). Factors influencing the journey to work for young people with physical and/or neurological conditionsDisability and Rehabilitation, 1-9.

Stafford, L., Marston, G., Beatson, A., Chamorro-Koc, M., & Drennan, J. (2019). Interpretative accounts of work capacity assessment policy for young adults with disabilitiesDisability & Society34(6), 885-903.

Stafford, L., & Marston, G. (2019). Using interpretive policy analysis to uncover meanings about disability employment and income policy regarding young adults and education–employment pathwaysSAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2.

Amaral, C., Chamorro-Koc, M., Beatson, A., & Tuzovic, S. (2019). Enabling self-determination through transformative service design and digital technologies: Studying mobility experiences of people with disability.

Amaral, C., Chamorro-Koc, M., Beatson, A. T., & Tuzovic, S. (2019). Participants as the experts: A design perspective on transformative research enquire. In 17th Qualitative Methods Conference.

Amaral, C., Chamorro-Koc, M., Beatson, A., & Tuzovic, S. (2018). A transformative design framework for online service delivery to enable self-determination.

Marston, G., Stafford, L., Chamorro-Koc, M., Beatson, A., & Drennan, J. (2017). Seamless journeys to work for young adults with physical/Neurological disabilities: Stage 1 Report-Disability employment policy and program influences on education-to-employment transition for young adults.

Stafford, L., Marston, G., Chamorro-Koc, M., Beatson, A., & Drennan, J. (2017). Why one size fits all approach to transition in Disability Employment Services hinders employability of young people with physical and neurological disabilities in AustraliaJournal of Industrial Relations59(5), 631-651.

Resource Kit

A tool for service providers and community organisations

Project Team

Lead Chief Investigator

Prof Greg Marston,  UQ (Social Sciences)

Chief Investigators

Dr Marianella Chamorro-Koc CI, QUT (Design)

Dr Amanda Beatson, QUT (Business)

Prof Judy Drennan, QUT (Business)

Dr Lisa Stafford, QUT (Health)

Lisa Hamilton, Research Associate, UQ

QUT PhD Scholar

Dr Carla Sartori


Funding / Grants

  • ARC Linkage (2016 - 2018)