Disability employment service provision primarily focuses on finding and retaining clients in a market place now disrupted by the advent of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the new open market paradigm that in 2018 introduced significant levels of competition to what was primarily a quasi-market system based on government benevolence. With service providers previously prescribed a defined market share, the need to innovate and consider the future took second place to moving clients through a system that rewarded compliance.

The new DES paradigm shattered that lethargy and introduced real competition, with providers now competing for clients and jobs. In parallel with this, the NDIS is awakening the disability entreprise system to the possibility of delivering open employment in innovative ways, making open employment pathways possible for the most disadvantaged community members.

However, what if there were no jobs? What happens when buying employment through incentives is no longer enough? Artificial intelligence and automation continue to change the job landscape eliminating entry-level jobs that were the bread and butter of DES providers.

Can DES providers survive operating the way that they do now in that environment?


Peter Smith

Visiting Fellow, Cornell University, NY and Director,
Centre for Disability Employment Research and Practice

Dr Peter Smith is the Director and Founder of the Centre for Disability Employment Research and Practice.

Peter has an extensive work background with people with disabilities and others with significant barriers to inclusion in society, as both, a therapist and systems advocate at both government and judicial levels. He has worked as a disability support worker, counsellor in disability employment services and Job Services working with people with significant barriers.

His current research focuses on social entreprise, transition to work and systems models. In his role as director of the Centre for Disability Employment Research and Practice (CDERP), his focus in on developing service provider transition models. Peter is a fellow of the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne and a Visiting Fellow, ILR School Cornell University NY, were his focus in on developing a disability employment outcome measure based on Social Quality Theory.


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