Disability Employment Australia. Represent, Support, Resource

Disability Employment Services sector

Get the low-down on DES

Disability Employment Service (DES) providers promote and assist the employment of people with disability by:

  • Assisting people with disability to find work in open employment situations,
  • Assisting employers to employ people with disability, and
  • Supporting the ongoing employment of people with disability.

There are 224 providers of the Disability Employment Services program operating across almost 2000 sites in Australia.

One in five Australians of working age have a disability, but only 53% participate in the workforce compared with 81% for people without a disability. Australia’s DES currently assist approximately 140,000 individuals with disability gain and maintain meaningful employment in the open labour market.

Disability Employment Services sits within the federal government’s Department of Social Services (DSS). Services are provided nationally through contracted arrangements with Non-Government Organisations (NGOs). They are both private and not-for-profit organisations.

Key features of the government's DES program include:

  • Removing the current cap on services, ensuring that all job seekers with disability can access services to help them get and maintain a job,
  • Providing the right assistance as early as possible, including for school leavers, to ensure a successful transition to work,
  • Increasing resources for job seekers in Remote Areas,
  • Placing more emphasis on education, training and skills development, and
  • Improving responsiveness to employers.