If you live with a diagnosed health condition, injury, illness or disability you could be eligible for extra employment support through the National Disability Employment Service (DES).
It is your right to choose your DES provider and change providers if they do not meet your expectation. This right is protected by the National Standards for Disability Services.
Many people report that their DES provider was selected for them, but you need not let other people decide for you.
You can make an informed choice by researching the providers in your area. Below are some tips on how to assess the suitability of DES providers. Finding a job has a big impact on your life and if you choose a provider that does not suit your unique needs and values you as an individual, then you are potentially missing out on a life-changing opportunity!
Things to consider when choosing a Disability Employment Service provider:
Find out who the Disability Employment Service providers are in your area
All DES providers are contracted by the Federal Government of Australia. The government lists all providers for your area on the jobsearch website.
You can access a list of local providers by visiting the ‘Find a Provider’ page at jobsearch.
Check the Star Rating of potential providers
“The Star Ratings measure provider sites’ relative success in achieving employment or education outcomes for their job seekers and are updated every three months. Sites with 5-Stars are the best performing while sites with 1-Star are the lowest. The ratings methodology allows for differences in job seeker and labour market characteristics across the country that influences outcomes. “ – jobsearch
Star Ratings vary dramatically in some cases. For example, the same provider might have a one star site and a five star site. Remember to occasionally check-up on the ratings as these can change and are updated regularly.
Search their name and see the results
Type the name of your potential provider into an internet search engine. Not only will you be able to look through their website, you can also find insights, such as community involvement, press coverage, reviews or awards for innovative programs.
Ask around for word of mouth referrals
Ask around your local and community networks and get trusted feedback from the personal experiences of local people. If a past customer is satisfied with the service and support they’ve received from a DES provider – and is a positive advocate – you can feel more confident in the choices you make.
Request an in-person meeting
Asking to meet with a representative from the DES provider will give you a good insight into how the organisation operates. You will be able to see if they are they professional, timely and supportive. Most providers tend to specialise in certain areas but this may not be evident on their promotional material or website. Find out if they do specialise and if that suits your circumstances. They might have a focus on education but you are after employment, or they might focus on youth but you are older. It can be worth asking how the team at that site is structured, the roles of team members, and their qualifications.
Try a trial period
Give your provider a trial period, for example, maybe six months or even a year. This way you can get a good feel for the suitability and sustainability of their service. You can see if their service meets your needs, makes you feel comfortable and is helping you work towards your employment goals.
How to change DES providers
Remember – you get to choose your DES provider. If you would like to change provider, all you have to do is to tell the staff of your current DES provider you wish to change and they are required to facilitate a transfer to your newly chosen provider.
For over 20 years CHESS Connect have been supporting local jobseekers into work. With offices across Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour region and the Clarence Valley, we are the regional specialists in disability employment, with strong connections with community and industry. Our staff are committed to supporting your goals in achieving sustainable and fulfilling employment.
Contact us today to enquire on how we can support you.
*our DES supports are delivered in partnership with CoAct Employment and the Department of Human Services