The NDIS Participant Employment Taskforce’s objective is to “improve employment outcomes for NDIS participants by connecting them to supports to seek and maintain employment in a setting of their choice”. One principle to guide the Taskforce work is to “maximise use of mainstream services such as DES”. In this session the Director, NDIS Participant Employment Taskforce, Jeannie Hodges, will update us on the Taskforce work and findings, including SLES, a key initiative in tackling the low participation rates and employment outcomes of young people transitioning from school to work. The session will then shift to a provider’s perspective, Ability Options – a longstanding DES provider with a significant SLES caseload. They have a very important story to share, reinforcing SLES as a strong model to support students and young people with disability into employment assistance and even employment. This session will include a Q&A with conference delegates.

Jeannie Hodges

Director, NDIS Participant Employment Taskforce
National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)

Jeannie is a Director in the National Disability Insurance Agency Participant Employment Taskforce. She has deep knowledge of the scheme, having commenced in the Agency in May 2013 at the trial site in Geelong. Building on 15 years’ experience as a DES provider with CRS Australia, Jeannie is guiding NDIS policy and practice to support participants exercise their right to work, with a focus on building staff capability and planning expertise.

Brenda Odewahn

Chief Operating Officer
Ability Options

Brenda has worked in the employment services and disability sectors since 1997. In 2011 she joined Ability Options and worked with executive teams across employment services and disability gaining opportunity to understand the preparation for the trial of NDIS and working with staff delivering services in accommodation and clinical services. In 2017 she became the CEO of Olympus Solutions, the employment services arm of Ability Options covering disability and mainstream employment including an Aboriginal specialist service, which provided her the opportunity to visit the UN. In 2018, she took over the role of Chief Operating Officer responsible for operations across both employment services and disability services covered by NDIS. One of her key areas of interest in the last few years has been development and growth of capacity building activities for people with disability to aspire to obtain and maintain employment in the open labour market.

Rebecca Jackson

Assistant Director – Participant Employment Taskforce
National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)

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