Call For Papers

The Call for Papers for Disability Employment Australia’s Conference 2021 is now open.

Submission Information

Presentations should relate to one or more of the following audience streams:

  • CEO/senior management
  • Capability development in DES sector
  • DES Operational/practitioner
  • NDIS workforce
  • Jobactive workforce
  • Disability advocacy and community stakeholders
  • Employer focus
  • Disability employment policy
  • Disability employment educational and research

Presentations should centre on:

  • Matters pertinent to the future of disability employment practice
  • Disability employment policy and best practice in open employment and/or issues pertinent to the DES sector
  • The emerging intersection between NDIS (participant employment supports) and DES expertise
  • jobactive and other mainstream employment service models for people with disability

Submissions should:

  • Be constructed on evidence-based research, case studies and/or industry or organisational best practice
  • Provide clear, actionable and practical solutions, processes or information, and not be purely limited to theoretical frameworks
  • Showcase innovative or unique practices, knowledge and methodologies
  • Promote discussion and participant engagement, be interactive where possible and offer opportunities for professional development


Our 2021 national conference is focussed on disability employment policy, design, models, and practice. With a core emphasis on participants and employers.

We are seeking your contributions and are now calling for papers to be presented at this year’s conference. We are looking for evidence-based, best practice, results-driven presentations. This is your chance to showcase your initiatives that demonstrate improved employment outcomes for people with disability.

The conference program will include relevant debates, research and innovative practices across the following areas:

Stream 1: The National Disability Employment Strategy and the future of disability employment policy and practice

  • The National Disability Employment Strategy and its interaction with disability employment services
  • The future of disability employment within the future of work policy
  • Programs vs. individual supports
  • Digitalisation of employment services impacts on people with disability looking for work
  • National mental health reforms and improving employment outcomes
  • State, territory and local government disability employment policy and initiatives
  • Training as the pathway to improved employment opportunities
  • Are we ready to talk careers rather than 52 week outcomes?
  • The role of research: The sector as a leader or follower
  • Disability Royal Commission impact on the DES program 
  • The United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and Article 27
  • The role of DES for people with disability entering employment service system via the Job Seeker Allowance payment system as opposed to DSP
  • The interactions between ADE, open employment, social enterprise, jobactive and other programs – how do these fit together?
  •  ‘Collaboration’ is not a dirty word – how to work effectively across the broader sector
  • Community attitudes and closing the workforce participation gap for people with disability
  • Recasting tired old narratives with new narratives, role models, data and people with disability telling their employment stories

Stream 2: The current DES program: compliance, outcomes, performance framework, operations

  • Training and education as the pathway to improved employment opportunities
  • The DES guidelines: what works, what doesn’t
  • Ensuring the DES program works for participants and employers
  • Program assurance activity
  • The cost of running a DES in a ‘program assurance’ and ‘Right fit for Risk’ world
  • The DES performance framework – where to now?
  • Employment outcomes, quality service and participant expectations
  • Targeted compliance framework
  • Attracting participants – the untapped referral pool – where and how?
  • Building the capacity of Indigenous people with a disability
  • Better outcomes, quality service and participant expectations
  • The role of state, territory and local government in disability employment
  • Collaboration is not a dirty word
  • Impacts of the DES funding level tool
  • Choice and control and empowering participants
  • Engaging frontline staff: Person-centred approach, employer engagement and community
  • Innovation and working effectively in a competitive market model

Stream 3: Engaging employers

  • The role of ongoing support – the interface between employers and keeping people with disability in work
  • Innovate practices in working with employers
  • Case studies of changing employer attitudes and practices
  • Working with large employers – how to make the relationship work longer term
  • Marketing and branding in your employer community
  • Building disability employer confidence
  • Challenging perspectives: how the employer, jobseeker and provider can intersect
  • Marketing of DES services to employers–what works?
  • Provider collaboration and employer engagement
  • Successful employer change
  • Why employers do not use DES?
  • Better use of wage subsidies and employers
  • The ‘burnt’ employer – how to reinvigorate the relationship

Stream 4: NDIS – Employment supports as the pathway to independence

  • NDIS Participant Employment Strategy
  • NDIS and DES – how to work collaboratively
  • The role of School Leaver Employment Supports and the link with DES
  • Improving NDIS employment supports:
    • Understanding barriers to employment throughout a participant’s life
    • Exploring opportunities with participants, families and the sector
    • Planning the right supports that lead to more confident entry to work
    • Focusing on older participants re-joining, entering or leaving the workforce
  • NDIS and better planning by services for participants
  • The increasing impact of the NDIS and employment in the disability sector
  • Participant choice and self-managed plans
  • Supports to connect young people to the workforce that are evidence-based, innovative, capacity building and outcomes-focused
  • Employment supports for mature aged participants
  • Evidence-based, innovative, capacity building and outcomes-focused supports that assist young people with disability find and keep a job

Stream 5: Mainstream employment programs – jobactive to NESM, Online Employment Services and more.

  • The New Employment Services Model and impacts on people with disability looking for work
  • Current challenges in becoming an effective digital or hybrid employment service
  • Effective servicing strategies for jobseekers with a disability in jobactive
  • Employment service providers experience with using digital tools
  • The New Employment Services Trial – what about the linkages between providers and online employment services?
  • Effective employment engagement initiatives and strategies in jobactive
  • Research around increasing employment outcomes for long terms unemployed
  • Transition to Work and working with young people
  • Work experience and the very long term unemployed
  • Digital transformation and effective client servicing
  • What is hybrid employment service delivery?
  • Digital tools and making employment accessible for all jobseekers
  • Enhanced Services – will they be effective?
  • Mature aged jobseekers and jobactive  

Submission and Selection Process

Important dates

  • Deadline for abstracts is 23 July 2021
  • Receipt of abstracts will be acknowledged via email
  • You will be notified of acceptance early August 2021

To be considered in the 2021 program, you must complete the online form and submit it on or before the 23 July 2021.

All abstracts submitted to the conference committee will be considered in relation to the requirements of the conference program as well as the quality of the submission. The conference committee’s decision is final.

If you have any queries, please contact Disability Employment Australia on 03 9012 6000 or

Conference Speaker Rates

Presenters included in the conference program will be able to attend the conference at a reduced speaker’s rate. As Disability Employment Australia is a not-for-profit organisation, we are not in the position to cover airfares or accommodation. Please indicate if your expression of interest is entirely conditional on having some or all of your costs met.

Discounted conference rates are available for presenters and co-presenters.

Discounted registration rate for speakers:

  •     One day rate: $530
  •     Two day rate: $795

Who will Attend?

Anyone with an interest in employment assistance for people with disability including:

  • Disability Employment Services
  • jobactive
  • People with disability
  • Advocates
  • Training organisations
  • Policy makers
  • Researchers
  • Employers and their representatives
  • Academics

Registrations Are Open!

Registrations for Disability Employment Australia's 2021 Conference are open. Please contact Conference Works on 03 9870 2611 if you have any queries.

Register Now

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