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2020 Conference and Annual General Meeting

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*** Please note - due to the COVID-19 pandemic changes will be made to the planned conference.  At this time, NDS will hold conference presentations online.  More details will be shared as they are learned.  Please stay safe and check back for updates. 


NDS and Workability International calls on interested parties, especially employment service providers and other professional employment specialists, to help shape this exciting event.

This year’s two-day NDS conference will incorporate the Workability International Conference. It will examine innovative ways to inspire and engage people with disability in employment opportunities. It is aimed at employment service providers (open, supported and social enterprises) and professionals interested in the design and promotion of a broad range of employment opportunities for people with disability in a digital world.

We invite the submission of presentation abstracts that will shape the delivery of employment supports for people with disability. The focus of the conference will be on articulating the value proposition of employment for people with disability, best practice in the use of technology and case studies and workable solutions from around the world.

What we know

Employment provides vitally important social and economic benefits for people with disability. These benefits include increased health and wellbeing, reduced reliance on welfare, greater financial security, a greater sense of self-worth and a positive role within the community. A rapidly changing global labour market responding to the challenges associated with the increased automation of work presents an opportunity to examine how the application of new technology can complement labour rather than replace it.

Reflecting this, the tag line for this year’s Disability at Work and Workability International Conference is “Disability employment in a digital world”.

The employment participation rate of people with disability remains unacceptably low in many countries. The Australian Government announced in 2019 an NDIS Participant Employment Strategy that seeks to ensure an increased number of people with disability receive the supports they need to gain and maintain employment.

Employment service providers are navigating a challenging labour market. Disability Employment Services (DES) are operating in an extremely competitive environment while seeking to ensure more people with disability obtain sustainable mainstream employment.

Supported employment providers are now operating within the NDIS. A new NDIS pricing framework will be implemented from the middle of 2020, and is intended to drive the continued evolution of the supported employment model and enable it to provide a wider range of quality employment opportunities for people with disability.

New support models continue to emerge for young people transitioning into employment, and Transition to Work Supports under the NDIS are now available to a wider cohort of young people with disability. Innovative transition models continue to be adopted on a much wider basis, providing targeted supports that maximise outcomes for both jobseekers and employers.

Globally, there is a wide range of employment support models and labour market programs for people with disability. The conference will tap into the knowledge and expertise of international experts who will describe how they are responding to the challenge of finding sustainable employment for people with disability.

Abstract topic areas 

  • Enhancing access to employment
o New approaches to supporting people with disability in employment

o Measuring the quality of employment outcomes

o Stories from employees who are achieving their employment goals

o Stories from employers that are making a difference

o New approaches to upskilling jobseekers and employees

o Developing career pathways and enhancing career choice

o Utilising technology to remove barriers to employment

  • Business and management
o Engaging employers

o Building a diverse and strong governance structure

o The benefits of diversifying income streams

o Business models that enhance financial viability

o Being competitive without rejecting cooperation

o Exploring the benefits and pitfalls of mergers

o Employing management information systems that enhance efficiency

o Harnessing the power of procurement opportunities and partnerships

  • Marketing and promotion
o Promoting the benefits of employing people with disability

o Marketing Supported Employment Enterprises and their products

o Marketing Disability Employment Services

o Effective employer, customer and partner engagement

o Maximising social media opportunities

Submission of abstracts and enquiries

Abstracts, no more than 300 words in length, must be submitted by 30 April 2020 to: Kerrie Langford (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Abstracts may be submitted electronically, as an email attachment, or by post on PC-compatible disc. They must be in MS Word or Word-readable format. Each abstract will be assessed for suitability for inclusion by a peer review panel. It is anticipated that presentations will generally be 30 or 45 minutes in length. Include your name, organisation, contact details and a brief presenter profile of no more than 150 words.

Additional information

Presenters are invited to attend the conference as our guest on the day of their presentation. The cost of attendance at the conference on an additional day and any travel and accommodation costs are the responsibility of each presenter. The event organisers reserve the right to edit the abstract and/or presenter profile for use during the conference.

National Disability Services (NDS) is Australia's peak body for non-government disability service organisations, representing over 1,050 non-government organisations. Collectively, our members operate several thousand services for Australians with all types of disability. NDS also provides information and networking opportunities to its members and policy advice to governments.