NDCO – Building partnerships to help people with disabilities transition into further education and employment
If you think about the employment and tertiary educational choices which were available to people with a disability 10 years ago, it could best be described as a list small enough to fit neatly on a folded napkin.
In recent years though, a lot has changed and we want to help keep you informed about some of these improvements so you can better advise and guide your patients through what is now a virtual smorgasbord of options available to them.
The Australian Government has established the National Disability Coordination Officer (NDCO) Program to help ensure people with disabilities have access to further education and subsequent employment. STEPS Group has been tasked with managing the NDCO program throughout Southern and Northern Queensland with Community Solutions covering Central.
“Our job description sounds simple enough: remove barriers which prevent people with disability from accessing further education including university and vocational study and then subsequent employment,” Debbie Rooskov, NDCO Southern Queensland officer, explained.
“To do this successfully, we need to build partnerships within the community, notably with Allied Health professionals who have the insight, understanding and awareness of what is needed by their patients.”
Debbie explained that the NDCO program offers free webinars and educational material for GPs and other Allied Health professionals looking at topics which include:
- Assistive technology in an educational setting
- What are considered reasonable adjustments?
- What disability supports are available at universities and TAFEs?
- Tertiary study preparation courses for those re-entering the education system
- Workplace modifications – process, case studies and benefits for sustainable employment
- Employment providers – who is out there and what they do?
- Traineeships and apprenticeships
Did you know?
Universities, along with many TAFEs and other vocational organisations, offer dedicated career development teams who provide free career counselling and guidance to prospective students to assist them in choosing the right course for them.
Their assistance can include career planning, goal setting, exploring personality work preferences and overcoming career transition issues. The counselling is offered in person, on the phone or using other technologies.
Queensland tertiary providers offer free or heavily subsidised transition programs preparing future students for university. These courses include:
- Tertiary Preparation Program and a variety of alternate Pathway Programs are offered through the University of Southern Queensland (USQ)
- Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS) offered through Central Queensland University (CQU)
- Tertiary Access Course (TAC) offered through James Cook University
- Adult Tertiary Preparation (ATP) offered through TAFEs and other providers and is equivalent to an Australian year 12 qualification accepted for university entrance
“The NDCO program is innovative and strategically focused to make a fundamental difference to what our community accepts as reasonable employment and educational outcomes for people with a disability,” Debbie said.
“If we work together to raise expectations and education on the benefits of a diverse classroom or workplace, it not only will improve the bottom line of businesses, it will improve the quality of life for people with disability and further facilitate their own contribution to the community.”
For more information contact your local National Disability Coordination Officers (NDCO). Southern Queensland – Debbie, firstname.lastname@example.org or 5458 3063; Central Queensland – Julie, Julie.email@example.com or 4932 8010; North Queensland - David, firstname.lastname@example.org or 0488 794 483.
ABOUT NDCO: The NDCO program is an initiative of the Australian Government to assist working-age adults with disability to successfully transition into further education and subsequent employment by developing partnerships with stakeholders in the local community.