Round 1

Innovative Workforce Fund Round 1 – Successful projects

Learn more about the successful projects from the first round of IWF funding below.

Avivo: Live Life Inc

The project will design and implement new service models based on self-managing teams of support workers tailored for and responsive to the needs of NDIS participants within their communities. The project will involve changes to the organisational structures, roles and accountabilities for support workers, office-based staff and the leadership team.

The project’s key deliverables include cost modelling to ensure financial viability of the proposed business model and documentation to support organisations seeking to develop and/or transition to models of care and support that are predominantly delivered through high performance work practices including self-managing teams.

Contact: Rosie Lawn

If you would like to read about the progress of this project, please click here

Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council

This project will develop a model education program for use in rural and remote communities nationwide. Model development will involve community consultations with a range of community members, and will focus on young people in schools and youth groups, building the idea that disability work can be a satisfying career. The proposed approach will then be trialled in several communities in the NPY Lands and the appropriate resources (oral and visual) will be developed and translated into local languages.

The key deliverables will be resources developed and translated into local languages and a documented, transferrable model.

Contact: Kim McRae

Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect)

This project develops ‘Building Connections’ tele-therapy to ensure a collaborative model across a participant’s service providers. The target participants will be individuals on the autism spectrum who live in regional, rural and remote Australia. Participants’ families will be asked to complete an online survey prior to beginning the tele-therapy program.

The key deliverable will be a tele-therapy platform and model that is transferrable to other settings.

Contact: Rachel Kerslake

Griffith University

The project will leverage off recent research by researchers at Griffith on the application of ‘mutuality’ to the service user – support worker dyad. This work explores the importance of developing the ‘right relationship’ between the service-user and support worker in order to optimise paid services and integrate with the informal supports already in place.

The key deliverables are resources for organisations, support workers and NDIS participants that apply this research evidence to develop mutuality within a human rights framework.

Contact: Lesley Chenoweth

The Parkside Foundation

This project will support an evaluation of the deployment of a high performance work practices model trialled by the organisation in 2016. The evaluation will address issues relating to:

  • risk management
  • industrial relations
  • policy and procedures
  • training package
  • IT management systems

The key deliverable is learning material and related resources that support organisations to establish self-managing teams.

Contact: Belinda Smith

University of Melbourne

This project will develop and demonstrate a new model of disability support worker-led employment support for Australia, using Customised Employment. This model, endorsed by the United States Department of Labour and Industry suggests promising ways of supporting people with disability to gain and sustain meaningful employment. However, the approach has not yet been fully adapted for, or widely used and tested in Australia.
The key deliverable will be a suite of resources, developed in consultation with US experts and Australians with disability, to assist providers working with NDIS participants on access to employment.

Contact: Professor Keith McVilly

Deaf Services Queensland

This project tests using online technology to support service delivery and workforce development. Deaf Services Queensland has internal infrastructure to deliver this platform and will expand service modes, interface with external contexts and locate devices in regional centres. Training and support for lay people in those settings (e.g. librarians) on access and use of technology to support the Deaf community will be provided.

Contact: Michelle Crozier

Spinal Life Australia

The Virtually Here project will engage Spinal Life Australia staff (Personal Support workers, Peer Support workers, allied health professionals and volunteers) to test Virtual Reality (VR) in supporting clients in three regional areas in Queensland.

The key deliverables will include learning materials that document the potential for the application of VR to support models of care and support.

Contact: Ross Duncan

Wellways Australia

This project will develop, pilot and evaluate a LGBTIQ peer workforce model to be applied within a mental health service setting.

The key deliverable will be a LGBTIQ peer workforce toolkit developed through a co-design process with clients that can be adapted for other groups and contexts.

Contact: Kate Higgins

Anglicare Tasmania Inc

This project involves collaboration between community, aged and disability clinicians working together to develop support plans which will be delivered by support worker/allied health assistants. If the aim is to increase occasions of service to those with disability in a rural area. Clinicians will work closely with support workers to diversify and extend the their role to that of an allied health assistant. This will be done through ongoing training, supervision, leadership and mentoring.

The key deliverable will be a strong hub and spoke model in areas of thin supply.

Contact: Damian Smith

Amicus Group Inc

This project will pilot an alternative organisational approach to service delivery which more fully supports worker self-direction. Amicus has found through its organisational transformation that there is significant tension between the traditional hierarchical organisational structure and providing truly person directed services. Amicus will develop an approach with greater relevance to smaller regional and rural agencies across Australia working in geographically isolated areas with dispersed populations.

The key deliverables will include learning resources to support the development of peer support teams.

Contact: Ann-Maree Davis

Achieve Australia Ltd and UTS

The project will independently evaluate the application of leading edge smart hiring technology in supported accommodation settings.

Firstly, Achieve will provide a baseline indication of the quality of life and engagement for people with disability, their families and support staff in both a group home and apartment setting. In the Second Phase of the project, Achieve will focus on the impact of the technology on workplace practices. Phase Three will utilise data from the previous phases to model the capital and operational costs of both the group home and apartment based living.

The key deliverable is a new body of information evidence stakeholders can access to assess the scope for the application of smart technology to complement new workforce models.

Contact: Daniel Kyriacou

University of New South Wales

The project will utilise existing research to develop practical tools and resources that promote mutuality (rights and recognition) between NDIS participants and their support workers.

Contact: Debbie Docherty

House with No Steps

This project will research and develop a prototype for the application of Virtual Reality (VR) to support worker professional development. VR technologies allow people to acquire knowledge, learn new skills, and partake in experiences that may be limited, inaccessible or unavailable in real life. Support workers regularly deal with a variety of medical and safety situations that require training and experience, including responding to people with complex needs and in high-risk situations. The VR setting will provide a safe setting in which to practice new skills.

The key deliverables include a report to stimulate debate about the potential for VR to support professional development in the disability workforce and learning materials and VR scenarios for the disability work space.

Contact: Kim Parish

Monash University

This project aims to:

1) positively influence life outcomes, including social and life role participation, of people with neurological disability living in supported accomodation.

2) significantly increase the number and skill level of DSWs, AHA-equivalent workers, HP students working in SDA whilst continuing their tertiary studies, and future graduate HPs who are trained to work with NDIS participants experiencing neurological disability.

The key deliverables of this project include targeted digital (web-based) training, freely available to the sector, and evaluation of effectiveness of both the digital training and clinical training model from the perspective of the three stakeholder groups.

Contact: Libby Callaway

Flinders University

This project will develop and test training for the existing and potential rural and remote disability health workforce, addressing challenges related to the rural and remote disability context including provision of culturally safe environments for Aboriginal and Culturally And Linguistically Diverse (CALD) clients, shared professional roles and responsibilities, and efficient use of technology to support care from a distance.

Cross-discipline supervision will support planned inter-professional disability placements in the SA Riverland.

Contact: David Lim

Community Living Projects Inc

This project will contribute to the limited evidence base on developing high performing, more autonomous teams in the NDIS environment by documenting work with participants and families to build their capacity and family leadership.

CLP will gather feedback at regular intervals from stakeholders that will provide qualitative and quantitative evidence relating to the effectiveness and efficiency of CLP’s participant/family-directed workforce practices. CLP will also undertake quantitative evaluation of attrition, absenteeism, sickness, relationship challenges and other issues referred to case managers, and use Personal Outcome Measures to determine participant/staff well-being.

A key deliverable will be learnings shared through the development of a range of resources for participants and families, potential and new workers, and curricula material for tertiary students.
Contact: Sally Strzelecki

Centacare FNQ

CentaOne by Centacare Far North Queensland is a collaborative approach to providing service capacity in four small, remote localities where the NDIS will shortly roll out.

The project tackles the problem of how to quickly scale up services in places where providers, workers and clients are thin on the ground and the NDIS rollout just beginning. Centacare will offer training and information and develop a user-centric website to assist stakeholders in communities to provide support to NDIS participants in the manner most appropriate to them – whether as an independent contractor, or potentially Centacare partner.

By including locations that range from towns to Aboriginal communities to Torres Strait Islands, the project will be able to develop iteratively according to what currently exists and the emerging needs.


Contact: Gary Hubble

Christie Centre Inc

This project will test an innovative, coordinated and collaborative, person-centred Active Positive Behaviour Support program.

Collaboration between the Christie Centre and specialised allied health professionals including behaviour specialists such as occupational therapists and speech pathologists will ensure this intervention model is evidence-based, relevant and applicable to the needs of people with a disability.

The key deliverable will be a module for assessment and support plan development in the Mildura (where none currently exists).

Contact: Florence Davidson

Synapse Australia Ltd

This project focuses on social and emotional wellbeing and will be trialled at the first purpose-built early intervention residential complex in Australia for First Peoples with complex disability (ie. acquired brain injury, intellectual disability, and/or mental illness). In contrast to traditional workforce design where service delivery is primarily focused on personal care, assistance with daily living, and to a much lesser extent, community access, the proposed innovative, culturally safe design involves the redesign of support worker roles and introduction of a cultural mentor.

The key deliverable is an evaluation of the efficacy of this novel workforce approach on consumer satisfaction and wellbeing, worker engagement and business sustainability.

Contact: Adam Schickerling

Growing Potential and Gamambila Aboriginal Health Service

This project involves the development of a new service model whereby Aboriginal families can access holistic assessment and early intervention for children with disability.

Aboriginal key workers will be create and manage collaboration between specialist disability services, especially therapists, and a primary health service that has relationships with ‘hard to reach’ NDIS participants and can ensure service provision is implemented in a culturally competent manner.

Contact: Joseph Archibald