National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)/Disability Employment Services (DES) Pathways Pilot

The NDIS/DES Pathways Pilot (the Pilot) aims to improve pathways from the NDIS into the DES program for people who do not have mutual obligations and volunteer to receive additional support from a DES provider.

The Pilot will be run in three regions and will help the Australian Government better understand ‘what works’ for NDIS participants without mutual obligations when looking for, and starting work. This information will contribute to disability employment reforms.


The expected outcomes of the Pilot are:

  • a better experience for NDIS participants engaging with DES providers
  • an increased number of NDIS participants accessing the DES program
  • a better participant experience through improved capability and confidence of DES providers and LAC partners to support NDIS participants with their employment goals
  • improved connection and integration of NDIS and DES supports to increase a participant’s ability to find and keep a job.

How does the pilot work?

The steps involved are:

  1. An eligible NDIS participant either contacts a DES provider or works with their LAC to take part in the Pilot.
  2. A DES provider works with the participant, the LAC and, if applicable, an NDIS provider to put together a plan to deliver supports to assist the participant into employment.
  3. The DES provider works with the participant to prepare for work by exploring suitable job opportunities that match their abilities and aspirations.

As part of the pilot, DES providers will receive support and resources to build their skills in working with NDIS participants. This will be provided by DSS and NDIA.

Who can participate in the Pilot?

The Pilot is open to NDIS participants who want to work and do not have mutual obligations in the following regions:

  • Australian Capital Territory
  • Greater Darwin
  • Outer Eastern Melbourne

If you are an NDIS participant in one of these regions and you do not have mutual obligations, you are encouraged to contact your LAC partner to see if you are eligible to participate in the pilot.

Information for NDIS participant who don’t live the Pilot regions.

If you are an NDIS participant who doesn’t live in a pilot region, you can still seek the support of a DES provider to find employment. The services and supports you are eligible to receive are the same as those in the pilot regions.

If you would like to explore work opportunities or understand how to start your employment journey, speak with your LAC provider or a DES provider in your region.

Information for LAC partners and DES providers

If you are a LAC or a DES provider in one of the pilot regions, you can find more information about the pilot in the NDIA intranet or DES provider portal.

Participating in the pilot will involve participating in the monitoring and reporting Pilot outcomes concurrently with your current reporting requirements. A framework for this is being developed and your involvement will be critical to understanding the outcomes for NDIS participants from the pilot.

If you are a LAC partner or a DES provider and you are not in one of the pilot regions you are more than welcome to use the resources provided to the pilot regions. In this case, you will not be required to monitor the outcomes you achieved separate to your normal monitoring and reporting activities.

How was the pilot developed?

The Department of Social Services (DSS) undertook a co-design workshop to inform development of the pilot. We also sought feedback from this co-design group on the draft pilot design. Through the NDIS Participant Engagement Panel (PEP), we sought feedback from participants to understand their experiences with DES. We have incorporated all of this feedback into the final pilot design.

Further information

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