Disability Employment Services

Through Disability Employment Services (DES), people with disability, injury or health condition may be able to receive assistance to prepare for, find and keep a job.

Providers of Disability Employment Services are called DES Providers. DES Providers are a mix of large, medium and small for-profit and not-for-profit organisations experienced in supporting people with disability, as well as helping employers to support employees with disability in the workplace.

Disability Employment Services has two parts:

  • Disability Management Service is for job seekers with disability, injury or health condition who need assistance to find a job and occasional support in the workplace to keep a job.
  • Employment Support Service is for job seekers with permanent disability who need help to find a job and who need regular, ongoing support in the workplace to keep a job.

The DES program gives participants flexibility and choice in the services they receive and how they receive them, with participants able to choose their preferred provider when they first enter the program.

JobAccess can provide you with all the information you need on disability employment, including DES. JobAccess is the national hub for workplace and employment information for people with disability, employers, and service providers.

DES Providers

A list of current DES Providers is available at https://www.dss.gov.au/disability-and-carers-programs-services/des-providers

The JobAccess website can help you to find the DES Providers in your area https://www.jobaccess.gov.au/find-a-provider.

DES and Mainstream Employment Services

The Australian Government is committed to giving Australians with disability choice and control over how they receive services, while ensuring the employment services meet their needs and requirements.

From 1 January 2022, job seekers who are eligible for DES may be offered the option to participate in mainstream digital employment services instead of DES. This change will empower job seekers who are able to manage their own search for employment to have greater control over the services they access.

Job seekers with disability who choose digital services will remain eligible for DES and can request a referral to a DES Provider at any time while receiving digital services. Job seekers who have not started a job within 12 months will be referred to a DES Provider.

The Australian Government is committed to increasing employment opportunities for people with disability by equipping DES participants with the necessary education and training to secure long-term employment. From 1 January 2022, education placements will be prioritised for training courses that are relevant to recognised skills shortages.

DES Quality Framework

In July 2023, the Australian Government announced a new Disability Employment Services (DES) Quality Framework (Framework). The Framework is designed to ensure the delivery of high quality, tailored services for people with disability. It will ensure providers are listening and responding to the needs of individuals and employers to drive meaningful and sustained quality improvement.

Following the release of the Framework the Department has continued to consult with providers, peaks, and disability representative organisations to inform and support implementation and development. The Framework has been updated to support this development.

DES Quality Guidelines are available to complement the Framework. The Guidelines formalise the rating approach and frequency to inform provider quality assessments.

An Easy Read version of the Framework will be available early 2024.

Future of Disability Employment Services

The Australian Government knows that people with disability and employers need a service that meets their needs and provides the right support. The Government has agreed to undertake a phased approach to reforming disability employment. The current DES program has been extended for 2 years, to 30 June 2025.

In an effort to improve systems and services for job seekers and employers, the Government is developing a new specialist disability employment services model to replace the current DES program. The new model will ensure that people with disability are not left behind and employers can utilise an untapped workforce.

It is crucial to learn from the experiences of people with disability. The Department of Social Services has been consulting with people with disability, employers, academics, disability representative organisations and providers on the design of the new model. You can find out more about the new specialist disability employment services model.

National Panel of Assessors

As part of the October 2023 Budget the Government extended the NPA program for 2 years to 30 June 2025, in line with the extension to DES. The NPA provides a range of independent assessment services to assist people with disability who are seeking employment and/or to keep sustainable employment.

View the list of the organisations delivering NPA Services as at 1 July 2023.

More information on the program can be found on the JobAccess website or by contacting the JobAccess support-line on 1800 464 800.

DES Links

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