Connect the Dots...

Services that support inclusion and successful transitions to education, training and work for people with a disability

© 2015

This publication was developed by the National Disability Coordination Officer (NDCO) Program.  The National Disability Coordination Program is an initiative of the Australian Government  funded by the Department for Education.

This work is copyright.  The copyright holder grants permission for the work to be adapted for local conditions and/or reproduced in parts providing that the source and author of the document is acknowledged.


The Australian Government does not own or control content and has not authored or approved the accuracy of content.  As such, users should not rely on the information in this publication as an official Australian Government source.   All information was correct at time of publication.

This publication will be updated annually. Latest versions are available for download from:

For information about the NDCO Program, please go to:


SA Government Department of Communities and Social Inclusion: Pat Coidan, Rennie Strawbridge, Sandra Elliott
TAFE SA: Meredith Norton, Cathryn Masters, Katrina Holmes, Sue Tanner
DIRC SA: Letizia Gentile
MALSSA Disability Rights Advocacy Service: Moss Politis
Catholic Education SA: Stephanie Grant, Ruth Evans
SA Government Department of Education and Child Development: Helen Edwards
Multiple Solutions: Yvette Nicholson
Personnel Employment:  Craig Harrison
Disability Employment SA
Previous NDCO - Monica Leahy & Lauren Shivvaan
Current NDCOs Laynie Dunne-Heynis, Vicki Parsloe & Jen Cousins


For information about this publication, please contact:

Nancy Knowling
National Disability Coordination Officer
Ph: 08 7210 3782 / 0411 440 134
Fax: 08 8207 8889

The NDCO Program (Region 23) is delivered in partnership with TAFE SA




The Disability Discrimination Act Education Standards
Department of Education and Child Development Transition Centres
Disability in Non-Government Schools
Special Education Resource Unit (SERU)
TAFE SA Disability Services
Disability Services in the Private Training Sector
Disability Services in higher education and universities
Up the Hill
The State Transition Program
Better Pathways
Adult Community Education


Australian Disability Enterprises
Providers - Metropolitan
Providers Regional
Disability Employment Services
Accessing Disability Employment Services
Employment Services Assessments (ESAts)
Jobs in Jeopardy
Employment Assistance Fund
Job Active (formerly Job Services Australia)
Disabled Australian Apprentice Wage Support (DAAWS)


Accessing Disability Services
NDIS National Disability Insurance Scheme
Day Options
Exploring other Options




National Disability Coordination Officer Program
Office of the Training Advocate
Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner
South Australian Equal Opportunity Commission
Australian Human Rights Commission
Disability Advocacy


Money Matters and Financial Assistance
Other Information Links 


The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and Education Standards

Section 4 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA), defines disability as:
Total or partial loss of the person's bodily or mental functions; or
Total or partial loss of a part of the body; or
The presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness; or
The presence in the body of organisms capable of causing disease or illness; or
The malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of part of a person's body; or
A disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or
malfunction; or
A disorder, illness or disease that affects a person's thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgment
or that results in disturbed behaviour.

It includes a disability that:

  1. Presently exists; or
  2. Previously existed but no longer exists; or
  3. May exist in the future; or
  4. Is imputed to a person.

The Education Standards set out obligations and rights for education and training providers and for current and prospective students.  Under section 22 of the Act, it is unlawful for an educational authority to discriminate against a person on the ground of the person's disability or a disability of any associates of that person:

  • by refusing or failing to accept the person's application for admission as a student; or
  • in the terms or conditions on which it is prepared to admit the person; or
  • by denying or limiting the student's access to any benefit provided by the institution; or
  • by expelling, or subjecting the student to any other detriment.

Section 22 does not render it unlawful to refuse or fail to accept a person's application for admission as a student where the person would require services or facilities that are not required by students who do not have a disability and the provision of which would cause unjustifiable hardship on the institution.

The Education Standards address the following areas:

  • Enrolment
  • Participation in the course for which the student is enrolled
  • Curriculum development, accreditation and delivery
  • Student support services
  • Elimination of harassment and victimisation

The Education Standards do not support:

  • Lowering of standards
  • Ignoring the inherent competency requirements
  • Ignoring workplace health and safety

While there may be some accommodations that may be considered an unreasonable adjustment due to unjustifiable hardship placed on the education or training provider (such as major building modifications for a small provider), an education provider cannot use the cost of flexible teaching, learning and assessment as a reason to discriminate against a student who has a disability.

Education and training providers are advised to have a Disability Action Plan lodged with the Australian Human Rights Commission and should have policies and procedures in place for supporting students with a disability.

For more information about the DDA and the Education Standards go to:

You may also want to think about disclosure of disability in terms of your rights, responsibilities and options.

Choosing you path. Disclosure: It's a personal decision -
This website addresses the challenges around disclosing disability. It provides information about options and pathways that people with disabilities can use in disclosing their disability. The website also explains the role and responsibilities of employers and educators.


Many disability service providers want to contact schools to inform them of what they can offer to support and/or supplement the work of the school.

Service providers should recognise that the core business of a school may not align with that of the service provider.  They should also recognise that schools are busy places and that a vast amount of information is received daily about services and opportunities.  Therefore a response may not be received from a school where strategies such as mail outs to all sites are used.

Engaging with schools in a strategic way via existing networks is often the best way to get information about services to the appropriate person in a school.  The National Disability Coordination Officers and School, Community and Business Partnership Brokers can assist with this.

Where service providers contact schools directly, it is customary to address all correspondence to the Principal unless they have a direct contact in the school.

The South Australian Government Department of Education and Child Development (DECD) maintains a Sites and Services Directory of all schools and education sites in South Australia, including non-government schools and sites.  It is available from the DECD website Service providers should be advised that names of contacts and so forth can change between updates of the Sites and Services Directory.

My School is a very valuable online tool to help educators and communities understand what is happening in schools right across Australia. It is designed to make it easy for users to access data and share information about a wide variety of important things such as a school's profile, academic performance, funding sources and financials. If you want, you can even see enrolment numbers and attendance rates. The My School information service is provided by an independent authority called the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).  My School -

Department of Education and Child Development Transition Centres

DECD maintains two Transition Centres in Metropolitan Adelaide.  The Transition Centres provide senior secondary students who have disabilities and learning difficulties with a range of opportunities to develop their vocational, social, academic and recreational skills in a supportive environment by:

  • working within the SACE framework
  • focusing on employability skills
  • promoting personal independence, responsibility and self-discipline
  • accessing VET units and training packages
  • promoting positive relationships and successful conflict resolution
  • promoting self-esteem and the recognition of individual worth and skills
  • interacting with the community including employers, support services and significant individuals
  • promoting sound work attitudes, behaviours and practices
  • helping students to recognise and respond to standards of behaviour in the wider community
  • undertaking work experience to support transition into employment

These Centres are available to students enrolled at DECD schools and referral can only be made through the school in which the student is enrolled.

Daws Road Centre

141 Daws Rd ST MARYS SA 5042

Ph:  08 8277 6504

Prospect Centre

114 Main North Rd PROSPECT SA 5082

Ph:  08 8344 6508

  "DRC have shown over many years that they know their students' strengths and interests extremely well, which of course is paramount to planning for post school options.  Assisting students to increase their independence has been a significant skill welcomed by many schools that refer students.  The Program has been able to re-engage some students who have lost motivation in their learning, and connect them with clear expectations and outcomes."

"I was a bit rude and didn't like to do my school work.  But Daws Road helped me see how much better it would be if I improved my attitude and got a job and earned my own money."

Disability in Non-Government Schools

Non-government schools are committed to complying with the Disability Standards for Education (see page 3).

For information about disability support in schools affiliated with Catholic Education South Australia (CESA):. First point of contact should be the school itself.  Information regarding Catholic schools and CESA services is available on the website (follow links to Learning and Student Wellbeing and then to Special Education).  Or telephone CESA on 08 8301 6600

For information about disability support in schools that are members of the Association of Independent Schools South Australia (AISSA): (follow links to Teaching and Learning and to Special Education) or telephone AISSA on
08 8179 1400.  First point of contact should be with the school itself.

Special Education Resource Unit (SERU)

72A Marlborough Street
Ph:  08 8235 2871
TTY:  08 8235 0465
Fax:  08 8235 1907

The Special Education Resource Unit (SERU) provides a range of learning and teaching materials and specialised services which support children and students with disabilities and learning difficulties.  SERU is a support unit of the South Australian Government Department of Education and Child Development (DECD).

SERU's services are available to teachers in DECD schools, professional workers and parents/carers.  Most services are for students enrolled in government schools.  A range of brochures about different SERU services can be downloaded from the SERU website.

SERU has an extensive resource centre with items for loan, including:
Curriculum resources
Developmental learning resources
Reference materials and journals
Specialised resources for departmental sites

*Teachers who are not eligible to borrow items from the Resource Centre may wish to become members of the DIRC Library (see page 2) as most of the journals are also held by DIRC.  The DIRC Library is compiling a growing collection of resources related to education and training for young people with a disability.

Some resources can be purchased on USB from SERU.  Two of particular note for people supporting students to transition from school include Access Apps (a collection of free software that can support students with a range of learning needs) and Transition to Life After Schooling, a printable resource that was originally published in 2009, but is no longer produced in hard copy.  Contact SERU to order these items, or an order form can be downloaded from the SERU website.

SERU is an acknowledged leader in professional development and training in assistive technology.  The SERU website is updated frequently with workshop opportunities for teachers and parents/carers.  Education and training providers should look out for the Special Education Expo, which is coordinated by SERU and held every July school holidays.

"I attended the Special Education Expo and it was quite simply the best value training opportunity I've ever been to!  I mean, I'd heard about Smart Pens and screen reading software and even all the disability supports in Word.  But the way they demonstrated them took all the fear of the unknown away."

TAFE SA Disability Services

The TAFE SA Disability Action Plan can be found here:

Information about TAFE SA Disability Services can be found here:

TAFE SA is committed to providing opportunities to students with disabilities to maximise their learning experience. Students with a disability or medical condition will have diverse needs and may require different levels of support or modifications to ensure an equal chance of success.  The TAFE SA Disability Support Program provides support services and special arrangements to assist students with their study.  Disability Officers (DOs), Student Services Officers (SSOs) and Career Advisers (CAs) can assist with access arrangements to minimise the effect of a disability without compromising the academic integrity of a student's Program of study.

TAFE SA uses Access Plans to negotiate and implement accommodations that assist students who have a disability, learning difficulty or medical condition to meet the requirements of their course of study.

In order to commence the process of negotiating an Access Plan, a prospective or current student must make an appointment on campus with a Disability Officer, Student Services Officer or a Career and Welfare Officer. There is a Disability Officer, Student Services Officer or Career Adviser available on every TAFE SA Campus, although they may not be available every day on some small, regional campuses.  The Disability Officer, Student Services Officer or Career Adviser will help the student to identify their needs and help negotiate an individual Plan that meets their needs.

Students will need evidence of their disability and will likely be required to obtain a health practitioner's report.

All information provided to the DO/SSO/CA is confidential.  The only information passed on to lecturers is related to modifications that must be made to accommodate the student's disability-related needs.   How much the student discloses to their lecturer and/or classmates is up to them.  However, it is recommended that the student be as detailed as possible in the information they provide to the DO/SSO/CA at the time they negotiate their Access Plan.

TAFE SA delivers courses of training for qualifications recognised through the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF).  The Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) is the national set of standards which assures nationally consistent, high-quality training and assessment services for the clients of Australia's vocational education and training system.  As such, standards required for assessment 'pass marks' cannot be modified for students with a disability, only the methods by which the student reaches and demonstrates the accredited standards required for the qualification.

Where a student is directly enrolled with TAFE SA (i.e., not enrolled through a third party such as a school), all costs related to accommodations that are required for study such as special equipment, interpreters or materials provided in alternative formats, are met by the TAFE Institute and not passed on to the student.

Australian Apprentices undertaking courses of study at a TAFE SA campus may also be eligible for support such as tutorial support.  This is provided through DAAWS or MAAPs. 

TAFE SA has published a booklet for students about disability services at TAFE SA.  It can be downloaded from here:

Prospective students and their supporters should be aware that there is no entitlement package attached to particular disabilities.  Supports are negotiated individually and are designed to meet the unique needs of each student.

TAFE SA is a Companion Card Affiliate.  This means that a student who is a Companion Card Holder may enrol their Supporter/Companion in the same course as they are undertaking, provided the Companion meets the Minimum Entry Requirements.  Providing the Companion meets the course requirements, they will be entitled to the same qualification as the Companion Card Holder and will not be required to pay tuition fees. 

For more information about using the Companion Card at TAFE SA, contact the TAFE SA Info line: 1800 882 661

Disability Services in the Private Training Sector

Private Registered Training Providers (RTOs) are subject to the Disability Discrimination Act and Education Standards.  RTOs provide training and qualifications that are accredited under the Australian Quality Training Framework. 

Some Private Registered Training organisations in South Australia provide accredited training specifically to clients who have a disability.

The Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) is the peak body for RTOs in Australia:

A listing of RTOs for South Australia can be found at  or Skills for All

Disability Services at University

Universities provide services to students with a disability, learning difficulty or medical condition in keeping with the Disability Discrimination Act - DDA - (1992) and Education Standards (2005).  Information about the DDA and Education Standards can be found on the website of the Australian Human Rights Commission:

The three public universities in South Australia have well established disability services and processes.  Officers who support students with a disability in negotiating an Access Plan are called Disability Advisers (DA).  Other higher education providers in South Australia such as Tabor and Kaplan also comply with the DDA and Education Standards and students should make contact with appropriate officers at the time of enrolment.

Negotiating an Access Plan

Students will need to make an appointment with a DA and present evidence of their disability and its functional effect on their studies.  This process is strictly confidential and the only information provided to lecturers by the Disability Service relates to the functional impact of the disability and any adjustments the lecturer needs to provide in order to overcome the impact of the disability.  It is up to the student how much more, if any, information is given to their lecturers and fellow students.

Some important matters to consider:

  • Places are not specifically reserved in university courses or Programs for people with a disability.
  • University courses, qualifications and Programs are not specifically devised for students with a disability.
  • Students with a disability need to be able to meet the inherent or core requirements of a course.
  • There is no entitlement package attached to particular disabilities.  Supports are negotiated individually and are designed to meet the unique needs of each student.

There are now many ways to enter university.  These do not vary for students with a disability.  Modes of entry include:

  • The South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) and using an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) to apply through
       the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC)
  • Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT).  The SATAC website contains information about admission to university via STAT.
  • Special Entry Programs and Foundation Studies Programs run by individual universities.  Refer to the individual university
       prospective student websites for more information.
  • TAFE Credit Transfers.  Some university courses recognise some TAFE qualifications for entry and some course credits.  Information is available from the universities' websites.

Any additional equipment and services required for study (such as alternative formats or interpreters for example) are provided at no cost to the student.

More Information

A Guide for Students with a Disability of Chronic Medical Condition at University in South Australia is available here:

Disability Services at University


Flinders University
Health, Counselling and Disability Services
Level 3 Student Centre
Phone: (08) 8201 2118
TTY: (08) 8201 3242

University of Adelaide
Horace Lamb Building, Ground Floor
North Terrace Campus
Ph:  08 8303 5962

University of South Australia
TTY:  8303 4842
To make an appointment with a Disability Adviser, please phone the Learning and Teaching Unit on each campus or as listed below:

City East Campus
Room P2-40 Level 2
Playford Building
Ph:  08 8302 2330 / 1300 657 122

City West Campus
Room Y1-17
Yungondi Building
Ph:  08 8302 0022 / 1300 656 377

Magill Campus
Q Building (next to Campus Central)
Ph:  08 8302 4423 / 1300 657 144

Mawson Lakes Campus
Room C1-50
Ph:  08 8302 5006 / 1300 657 133

Whyalla and Mount Gambier Campuses
LTU services, including disability services can be accessed via Campus Central

Tabor Adelaide
Student Services Officer
Ph:  08 8373 8751

Kaplan Business School
Ph:  08 8215 4100 / 1300 602 809

















"Once we worked out what was reasonable to accommodate my disability and support my studies, nothing was too much trouble.  The Disability Service organised alternative formats for me and supported me when I negotiated with my lecturers.  Without their support I wouldn't be at this graduation ceremony and starting my career journey."

Up the Hill Project 

About the Up the Hill Project

The Up the Hill Project facilitates the participation of people with intellectual disabilities in the social and educational life of Flinders University.  Eligible participants are assisted to select and audit topics of their choice and are supported by mentors to access and enjoy the services and experiences the University has to offer.  The Up the Hill Project is managed and based in the Unit of Disability and Community Inclusion of Flinders University.

The Up the Hill Project is an Inclusive Post-Secondary educational opportunity for adults with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities. The project is acknowledged and supported by the Flinders University Department of Disability Studies and is administered by a Steering Committee consisting of family members, participants, mentors, the coordinator, director and academic staff within the University.

The goal of the Up the Hill Project is to expand the horizons for individuals with disabilities by providing opportunities for increased social connections, educational opportunities and to experience the life of a university student.  The university setting allows each participant the chance to access, together with other students, the wide range of topics offered by the University and take part in collaborative ventures.  This social interaction with academic staff and fellow students provides mutually enriching, educational and social opportunities for all concerned within the university environment.

The participants audit and attend university classes of their choice with the intention of developing skills and improving the potential for future employment.  With connections in the community, participants will open new doors for their future.

At the commencement of each semester the participant will choose topic(s) to audit.  The participant is assisted by a mentor to meet the lecturer who teaches the topic to obtain permission to participate in the lecture.  Mentors support participants to be involved at their level of comfort.  This support is not disruptive, but casual, and often enhances the participation and involvement in the classroom for everyone.

The mentors and coordinator of the project monitor the progress of the participants so that they may address any problems that arise.  The mentors and coordinator oversee the whole process.  They work individually with participants to identify goals, to select topics, develop study schedules and further promote inclusion within the University.

Characteristics for successful participation:

  • the person has an intellectual disability and is eligible to receive the Disability Support Pension.
  • the person states an interest in further education.
  • the person is able to make choices from the available University topic offerings.
  • the person should display reasonable interpersonal skills (i.e., be non-disruptive in social and educational settings).
  • the person must be able to arrange their own travel to and from the University.
  • the person must be able to arrange and care for immediate personal needs.
  • the person must have the physical ability to fulfil the role of a student.

For further information
The Up The Hill Project Coordinator
Ph.:  08 82013382

"The Up the Hill project has allowed me to explore the fields I wanted to and become the person I am. I think I have grown into a stronger and more confident person because of that.  The contacts and friendships of so many people, who have inspired me, will be something I will hold forever."

The State Transition Program

About the State Transition Program

The State Transition Program provides a case management service to young people with disabilities and learning difficulties during their final year of school.  The Program coordinates access to accredited employability skills training, career guidance, vocational education and training (VET) and structured workplace learning. The aim of the Program is for students to make a seamless transition into full or part-time open employment with the support of a Disability Employment Service (DES), or go on to further study.

The State Transition Program operates throughout metropolitan Adelaide, across all three schooling sectors.  The Program is partly funded by the SA Government Department of Education and Child Development and Personnel Employment.

Students must be referred to the Program by their school.  An Expression of Interest is sent to schools towards the end of term 3 in the year preceding their transition year.  Teachers can download a nomination form from:  Alternatively, teachers can forward the following information by email at

  • School name
  • Contact person and telephone number
  • Student name
  • Date of birth
  • School year level
  • Primary disability type
  • Other Programs for which the student has been nominated.

For more information contact the State Transition Program team on 08 8414 7000.

A booklet about the State Transition Program can be downloaded from:

Better Pathways

Better Pathways works with young people with disabilities, mental health conditions, or displaying early indicators, who have barriers that lead to them being at risk of not making a successful transition from school to activities that maximise their social and employability potential.  It aims to ensure these young people do not leave school early or drop out of the service system altogether. Students are recommended for this Program following an assessment completed at school, during year 9, and after gaining consent from parents or guardians.

Better Pathways provides staff to work with students from Year 9 until twelve months after they leave school.  Pathways Workers spend up to 3 hours per fortnight with their students providing support that falls into 3 categories:

  1. Planning
  2. Coaching and mentoring
  3. Service coordination and advocacy

Support will occur in a range of settings including the library and informal venues such as cafes and home.

Better Pathways believes that parents and families are an important part of a student support network.   Involving families throughout the process, wherever possible, is a goal of Better Pathways.

Please note Better Pathways has limited intake. If you would like more information about future opportunities please contact them via the following ways:

"One of my students and her family has been assigned a mentor through Better Pathways.  It gives me peace of mind that someone is supporting the whole family towards independence and participation for such a special young woman with more than the average challenges"

Adult Community Education (ACE)

About ACE

Adult Community Education (ACE) is funded by the South Australian Government Department for Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology (DFEEST) through SA Works.  Adult Community Education (ACE) is a term used in South Australia to describe a wide range of accredited and non-accredited learning opportunities for adults, which are sometimes also called Community Learning. ACE Programs are usually free or low cost.

The learning activities supported by the Program can be:

  • courses and workshops to assist adults to develop their personal skills in preparation for work or further study
  • tutoring services, classes and small group activities designed to meet individual and group needs for improved
    foundation skills such as literacy and numeracy.

What does the Program aim to achieve?
The focus of the Program is to ensure adults who may experience barriers to participation in the workforce have access to learning pathways.

Community-based, not-for-profit organisations are well-placed to reach those people who are currently not participating in the workforce because of limited skills and low levels of confidence.  This Program partners with communities to re-connect disadvantaged target groups to training and employment pathways.  Since 2009 the Program has focused on the development of multi-literacy skills and assistance for adults to make successful transitions from non-accredited to accredited training.

More information is available at:

"ACE gave me the skills and confidence to apply for a TAFE course and now I'm on my way to a qualification that will get me a job. I'd be nowhere without ACE to start me off."


WEA Centre

223 Angas Street, Adelaide SA 5000
Telephone: 8223 1979 (Enrolment hotline) Freecall: 1800 638 749 (SA country residents)
Facsimile: 8232 3690
Email: (Enrolment and Course Enquiries)

The WEA provides learning opportunities for anyone aged 15 years or older. There are generally no pre-requisites for courses and no assessment or exams. WEA is an independent, non-government association almost completely funded by the student fees that it receives.  The WEA publishes five Course Guides each year in late January, early April, late June, mid-September and late November. All course details appear on this website, which is updated daily.

In addition to its skills and enrichment courses including computer training, the WEA offers overseas tours, services to assist people with a disability enter mainstream courses, subsidised Programs to build numeracy and literacy skills, and WEA Clubs membership that enables students to continue their interests.

The WEA's Disability Enrolment Service offers a range of services to any adult who has a disability and who wishes to join in mainstream education and enrol in a WEA course. To encourage and support the involvement of people with a disability, the Disability Enrolment Service offers:

  • Physical access: ramps at the front and rear of the WEA Centre and accessible car parking.
  • Fee concession: up to 75% reduction on most course fees (subsidised by the South Australian government's Disability Services Office)
  • Assistance from volunteer companions.
  • Free place for a personal supporter.
  • Adaptive equipment for use with computers and sign language aides.
  • Free transport via Access cabs (conditions apply).

WEA Disability Enrolment Service

Telephone: 8223 1272 or TTY 8224 0189
Fax: 8232 3690


JobAccess is a free information and advice service about the employment of people with disability. JobAccess helps people with disability, employers, service providers and the community to access information about services, financial assistance and workplace solutions. You can find useful information about reasonable adjustments, disclosure of disability, disability employment case studies, tools and checklists.

Free call: 1800 464 800
(Please note that if you are calling from a mobile phone you may incur additional costs depending on your phone carrier's mobile call rates)

  • TTY: 1800 464 800
  • Fax: 08 9382 9277

Users who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment can call 1800 464 800 numbers through the National Relay Service:

  • TTY users phone 1800 555 677 then ask for 1800 464 800
  • Speak and Listen (speech-to-speech relay) users phone 1800 555 727 then ask for 1800 464 800
  • Internet relay users connect to the NRS (see for details) and then ask for 1800 464 800

Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs)

About ADEs

Australian Disability Enterprises are commercial businesses that provide employment for people with disability who are recipients, or eligible to receive, the Disability Support pension (DSP).  There are 325 Australian Disability Enterprise outlets across Australia, providing supported employment assistance to approximately 20,000 people with moderate to severe disability who need substantial ongoing support to maintain their employment.  Australian Disability Enterprises are commercial enterprises enabling people with disability to engage in a wide variety of work tasks such as packaging, assembly, production, recycling, screen printing, plant nursery, garden maintenance and landscaping, cleaning services, laundry services and food services.  Employees of Australian Disability Enterprises enjoy the same working conditions as those in the general workforce.

Many ADEs have work experience Programs for young people still in school.  A number also partner with schools to develop work skills and work readiness.  A number of ADEs in South Australia are also Registered Training Organisations and offer nationally accredited training packages to their employees.

You can find out more about ADEs on the Department of Social Services website -

Australian Disability Enterprises website -

For further information about working in an Australian Disability Enterprise, or seeking further information about Australian Disability Enterprises for a person in your care contact Centrelink on telephone 132717

Information about ADEs for school leavers is available here:

Information about ADEs for parents and carers is available here:

"Our students participate in a work experience Program one day a week for a semester.It has a major impact on their knowledge of the world, skill development, increased confidence and overall participation. I'm not surprised so many of our students want to work in such a caring environment when they leave school."

Australian Disability Enterprises in South Australia Metropolitan Adelaide

Ph:  08 8252 8666
(Elizabeth, Holden Hill)

Bedford Group
Ph:  08 8275 0295
(Panorama, Lonsdale, Pooraka, Clapham)

Finding Workable Solutions
Ph:  08 8398 3099
(Mount Barker)

Hands On SA
Ph:  08 8363 2633
(Kent Town, Oakden)

Ph:  08 8442 6200
(Brighton, Lonsdale, Somerton Park, Blackwood)

Ph:  08 8375 2000
(Netley, Wingfield, Ridleyton)

Ph:  08 8152 2400
(Torrensville, Elizabeth, Gepps Cross)

Product Action
Ph:  08 8261 2288

RSB Industrial Services (special blind/vision impaired service)
Ph:  08 8261 4121
(Gilles Plains)

SA Group Enterprises
Ph:  08 8464 0779
(Bedford Park, Melrose Park, Underdale)

Wesley Social Enterprises (specialist mental health)
Ph:  08 8440 4243
(Port Adelaide)
Ph:  08 8252 2933







"I really like going to work.  All my friends work at the same place as me.  I also like seeing the stuff we made sometimes in shops!"












"My favourite thing about my job?

Payday of course!"

Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) ADEs in Regional South Australia

Barossa Enterprises (Woodwerx)
Ph:  08 8562 4855 Nuriootpa
Ph:  08 8842 1386 Clare

Bedford Group: (

  • APG (horticulture)
    Regional depots: Port Pirie, Kadina, Mt Gambier, Millicent, Port Lincoln
    Ph: 08 8275 0304
  • Bedford Millicent
    Ph: 08 8733 2966
  • Bedford Mount Gambier
    Ph:  08 8725 9588
    Bedford Port Lincoln
    Ph:  08 8682 6011
  • Bedford Packaging
    Ph:  08 8275 0315
    Regional depots: Kadina, Mount Gambier
  • Bedford Timber Products and Manufacturing
    Ph:  08 8725 6088
    Mount Gambier

Finding Workable Solutions
Ph:  8398 3099
(Victor Harbor, Goolwa)


  • Loxton Business Services
  • Melaleuca Business Services (Meningie)
  • Mount Gambier Business Services
  • Murray Bridge Business Services
  • Port Augusta Business Services
  • Port Pirie Business Services
    Ph:  08 8375 2000

Ph:  08 8645 8463

"The quality of the goods they produce shows that they are not a charity.  They are an important business in our town."

Disability Employment Services (DES)

What is a DES?

Disability Employment Services support people with disabilities, learning difficulties, injuries and health conditions in their efforts to get and maintain a job.  Disability Employment Services are uncapped, so that all eligible people with disability have immediate access to the service they need.  There are no waiting lists.

There are two clearly distinct Programs:

  • Disability Management Service (DMS) for job seekers with disability, injury or health condition who require the assistance of a disability employment service but are not expected to need long-term support in the workplace.
  • Employment Support Service (ESS) for job seekers with permanent disability and with an assessed need for more long-term, regular support in the workplace.

All eligible job seekers with disability have access to individually tailored and comprehensive services which meet their needs including capacity building, training, work experience and other interventions to help job seekers with a disability obtain and maintain suitable employment.

A key distinguishing feature of Disability Employment Services is their capacity to support and manage a participant's condition in the workplace, along with providing ongoing support in the workplace for as long as it is required.

Disability Employment Services work with clients to find employers, create and shape jobs and prepare workers and the workplace culturally as well as physically if need be.  Disability Employment Services who offer an ESS Service can also maintain a long-term relationship with both employees and employers to help meet any challenges that might arise down the track.  Work can be part time or full time and is suited to the skills and abilities of the person with a disability.  Services provided by Disability Employment Services are free of charge.

Each DES is different, so it is important that questions are asked about the service when deciding which DES will best support the future needs of the person with a disability who is seeking employment.

Questions to consider asking before making a commitment to become a client of a DES*:

  • Once registered, how long will I be a client of your service?
  • What type of support do you provide? For example: do you support all day in a job if required?
  • Do you offer any Programs to assist with work preparation?
  • Do you provide transport support?
  • What type of transport support do you offer?  For example, will the trainer get on a bus with a client until they are familiar
       with the bus route?
  • How long can someone remain a client if they do not have a job?
  • What other services does your organisation offer?  For example: assisting with personal issues, social club, counselling and
  • Do you assist with Centrelink issues?
  • What kind of jobs can you find for your clients?
  • Do you assist with preparing resumes?
  • Do you assist with further studies or training?
  • Does your organisation offer re-training for a new job or new position?  For example: training a new task in the same

*Questions adapted from a resource developed by Personnel Employment for the State Transition Program

"I'd been out of the workforce for a long time after my injury.  My DES linked me with some work experience, which helped me gain skills and referees.  They also helped me with training, so that I had nationally recognised qualifications in the field I was interested in.  It really helped me get that job I wanted.  A lot of people might complain about having to go to work.  Not meI'm a very happy man to be employed again!"

Accessing a DES for School Leavers

An Eligible School Leaver can approach a Disability Employment Service directly, or as most often the case, by referral through their school.  An Eligible School Leaver must be:

  • In the last 6 months of full-time secondary school and considering post-school options / employment opportunities, or
  • A full-time student who is participating in a school based apprenticeship which is recognised by an Australian
      Apprenticeship Centre and with a training contract lodged in the Training Recognition System (TRS), or
  • A full-time student who is intending to work part-time outside of school hours at award-based wages.

And be:

  • Of legal working age,
  • Assessed by the DES Provider as having capacity to work for a minimum of 8 hours per week with the assistance of a DES Provider,
  • Not currently employed for more than 8 hours per week,
  • Able to provide suitable evidence from their current educational authority recognising the student's need for educational support due to the nature of their disability,
  • Does not have a current and valid Job Capacity Assessment (JCA)/ESAt with an employment services referral.

An individual will be eligible to commence as an Eligible School Leaver up to 12 months after leaving school or completing the State Transition Program.  For example, a young person leaving school at the end of the 2011 school year can commence as an Eligible School Leaver until 31 December 2012.

Accessing a Disability Employment Service (DES) from the community
Any person with a disability, learning difficulty, medical condition or injury can access a DES Provider by contacting a DES Provider in their region directly.  Alternatively, they may be referred by Centrelink.

In order to access a DES, if the client is not an Eligible School Leaver, an Employment Services Assessment (ESAt) will need to be conducted. This can be organised by the DES Provider or by Centrelink.  See page 18 for information about ESAts.

In addition to assisting clients with finding employment, most DES Providers can arrange individual skills assessment and career planning, job preparation and training and work experience as well as disability awareness and disclosure training for co-workers, supervisors and managers.

Some incentives may also be able to be provided to employers to encourage them to employ a person with a disability who is appropriate for a job.

DES providers can assist with organising workplace support that is tailored to the individual needs of the employee.  This support might include:

  • One to one job training,
  • Support for individual needs such as meals and toileting,
  • Workplace modifications through the Employment Assistance Fund (see page 23)
  • Job redesign, and/or
  • Social integration in the workplace.

Support will vary according to whether the client is in the Disability Management Support (DMS) or Employment Support Service (ESS) service stream.  (See page 16 for information about the two service streams).  However, for the majority of school leavers with significant ongoing support needs, the DES-ESS Program would be most appropriate as it provides long term support.

To find a DES near you, go here:

"Could I have received better help?  I don't think so!  My DES even arranged for someone to support me for my first few days at work until I got over my nerves and felt like I could handle things myself."

Employment Services Assessments (ESAts)

Employment Services Assessments (ESAts)

Employment Services Assessments (ESAts) recommend the most appropriate employment service assistance based on an assessment of the job seeker's:

  • Barriers to finding and maintaining employment (this may relate to the impact of a person's disability, injury, Illness, or other disadvantage), and
  • Work capacity (in hour bandwidths).

Assessors use available information about the job seeker, including current and past medical/disability status, and prior participation and employment history to assess work capacity and barriers. Assessors can also liaise with treating doctors and other relevant health professionals as required.

ESAts may also be used by Centrelink to inform decisions regarding income support payments and to determine the level of participation required for activity tested job seekers in accordance with the Social Security Act 1991.

Types of Employment Services Assessments
There are two types of ESAts. These are

  • Medical Condition ESAt   A Medical Condition ESAt is an assessment of the job seeker's circumstances to determine work capacity and the most appropriate service, where one or more medical conditions are identified.  ESAts are similar to the previous Job Capacity Assessments (JCAs) for potentially highly disadvantaged job seekers with disability, injury or illness.  In the case of a Medical Condition ESAt, the assessor must rely on the available medical evidence.  Most people accessing a DES will require a Medical Condition ESAt.
  • Non-Medical Condition ESAt   A Non-Medical Condition ESAt is an assessment of the job seeker's circumstances that determines the most appropriate service, where no medical condition is identified for example, a young person at serious risk of homelessness. A nonmedical condition ESAt is normally less complex than an ESAt for  a job seeker with disability, injury or illness, and will be streamlined to meet the individual's needs.

There is flexibility in the process.  Depending on the circumstances, a non-medical condition ESAt can be extended to a medical condition ESAt by the assessor at the same appointment, where medical evidence is available.

Assessment Interviews
Wherever feasible, an ESAt will be conducted through a face to face interview.  Where a face to face assessment is impractical for the job seeker (for example, due to geographic isolation or extreme weather conditions) or the job seeker has a medical condition or barrier which restricts them from attending a face to face interview, a video or phone assessment will be arranged.

All ESAts are conducted by qualified health and allied health professionals, such as a Psychologists and Registered
Nurses employed by a single government provider under the Department of Human Services portfolio.  All Assessors must be eligible for membership of their professional Board or Association and meet all requirements to practice in the State or Territory in which they work.

Referral for an Employment Services Assessment
Centrelink most commonly refer customers for ESAts.  This includes</

National Disability Coordination Officer
Programme (NDCO). South Australia:
Regions: 23-24-25

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