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The Workforce Connector Model formed the basis of the NDS Disability Workforce Innovation Project, run in 2019 - 2020. The model was built on learnings from other projects. Successful regional change projects occur in complex disability ecosystems and require place-based solutions.

At its most basic, the model is about having individuals (Connectors) to create or preferably, consolidate and build on existing, trusting relationships with local people and to operate in a manner that brings about positive place-based solutions.

In this project, four regionally-based Victorian Connectors engaged with multiple and diverse stakeholders. The Connectors were recruited based on their existing local networks and connection to regional areas. To be effective in their roles, they were required to have relevant disability workforce expertise, great relationship skills, exceptional written and verbal communication skills and project management and facilitation expertise. As they worked from home, Connectors also needed to be self-motivated, curious, organised, quick to adapt and practical team players.

The Workforce Connector Model provided the extra energy and focus to bring local disability service providers and other stakeholders together. The Connectors recognised when there was a promising idea with enough support, to foster development on a local solution. The two-way communication role of Connectors also proved very valuable when emergencies arose. They were trusted with frank and specific local information that they could quickly feedback through their networks. Regional stakeholders reported that because of this they felt included and not forgotten during the challenging times of 2020.

The Connectors amplified the regional voice at both national and state wide levels by linking their areas into consultation opportunities and pilot programs.

The combination of Connectors (with the necessary skill set) and management support, ensures the model delivers great value. It is a flexible, organic and adaptive model that can take advantage of opportunities, providing a powerful way to bring about change.

The results speak for themselves:

  • 45% of stakeholders indicated that they did things differently as a result of their engagement with the Workforce Connectors
  • 77% of stakeholders formed new relationships. 98% reported that these were useful including 72% deeming them very or extremely useful

The following statement provided by Manager Workforce Design, NDIS Projects, Department of Health and Human Services December 2020 also gives a further indication of the success of the program.

“Intelligence arising throughout duration of the DWIC [Disability Workforce Innovation Connectors] project was highly regarded and regularly drawn upon and referred to by the Workforce Design team to inform delivery of related projects and initiatives under the Plan and outside of the Plan. This intelligence was also used to inform policy advice and recommendations at interdepartmental and inter-jurisdictional forums, and key policy work such as development of the National NDIS Workforce Plan. Intelligence from the DWICs was critical in informing responses to the most recent Victorian bushfires and COVID-19.”

Contact information

For more information contact Dianne Hardy, Disability Workforce Innovation Project Lead, 0436 820 088, submit enquiry/feedback