Wondering if your time supporting research really does evoke change within the sector?

What happens when you hit submit on that survey?

Lead Researcher and University of Sunshine Coast Pro Vice Chancellor Denise Wood AM is here to show you that YES – research can equal innovation!

In the next few weeks join our short blog series to see exactly how and where these research-informed initiatives are taking place in Queensland.


Professor Denise Wood AM:

More than three hundred NDIS employers, employees, sole providers and self-managed participants contributed to the first stage of the NDIS Workforce Research Project through surveys, focus groups and interviews.

This industry participation is relied upon and their input is evident in the recent Strengthening Queensland’s NDIS Workforce report, released in July 2021 in partnership with Jobs Queensland.

The second stage of the research commenced in 2021 and while the response rate for participants willing to engage in focus groups and interviews has been pleasing, the response rate for the survey has been significantly lower than for the first stage of the research, which informed the recently published state wide report.

We know that survey fatigue, feelings of over consultation in the Industry, and increased workloads and impacts from COVID-19 are factors here. Nonetheless interviews and focus groups that were conducted showed a strong demand for locally trained support workers, managers and allied health professionals that were needed to help boost Queensland’s disability workforce.

At the time the data was gathered, there were 55,000 registered NDIS participants, with the largest categories those with autism (30 percent) and intellectual disability (24 percent).

Consequently the report documents a strong need for additional workers to enter the disability sector, with NDIS-related careers projected to grow by a further 18.8 percent over five years, more than doubling the workforce.

It has been wonderful to see that the research findings highlighted in the recently released Strengthening Queensland’s NDIS Workforce report have been able to inform Jobs Queensland with six priority recommendations – many of which have since become funded initiatives.

These include:

It is important to recognise that each of these project initiatives or pilot projects is being developed with a strong evidence-base in which to best meet jobs growth and skills needs for the NDIS workforce in our state.

Your participation forms a research base around Industry experiences otherwise known as qualitative data – which support what statistics and data were shown through several sources including Adzuna Jobs data, Yellow card data and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census and Labour Force Data.

The take home message here is that yes – your contribution to research really does, and can equal change and innovation!

So next time you see a survey land in your inbox or are invited to a focus group consider that your knowledge really is valuable and is needed to contribute to bigger picture change and innovation, and I invite you to take the time to complete it knowing it will help to make a difference, impacting the wider Industry, your organisation’s workforce and the broader Australian community.

About the Strengthening Queensland’s NDIS Workforce report

The Strengthening Queensland’s NDIS Workforce report has been recently launched by WorkAbility Qld and funding partner Jobs Queensland.

The report documents the findings and recommendations from the first stage of a three-year research project led by the University of Sunshine Coast (USC) investigating the impacts of the NDIS since its rollout in 2016.

Read more about the project here

Contact the Research Team