How to choose a DES provider

Choosing an employment services provider?

There can be a lot to consider when trying to find one that suits your needs. 

tyler-nix-sh3LSNbyj7k-unsplashWhat is Disability Employment Services?

The Australian Government’s Disability Employment Service (DES) is a free program supporting people with disability, injury or health conditions to prepare for, find, and keep a job. Depending on individual circumstances, people may be eligible for either occasional support (Disability Management Support – DMS) or ongoing support (Employment Support Service – ESS).

The services are delivered by a mixture of registered providers who may be local not-for-profit organisations, like Castle, that specialise in supporting their region, to large national and international for-profit companies.

Are Disability Employment Services just for people with a diagnosed disability?

Not necessarily. Castle supports people with a range of long and short-term injuries, illnesses and health conditions that are a barrier to finding or keeping a job.

Depending on your individual circumstances, Castle can assist in connecting you to specialists to obtain the evidence and assessments needed. A Centrelink medical assessor will then make sure everyone receives the right level of support for their circumstance.

Just a few examples of eligible conditions or illnesses can include:

  • Depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions
  • Chronic Illnesses
  • Epilepsy
  • Diseases such as cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Hearing loss
  • Injuries (short and long term)
  • Check out a comprehensive list here 


What does a DES provider do?

 An employment service provider, like Castle, prepares job seekers to become ‘job-ready’, connects them with potential employers, and supports them at every step of the employment journey. Types of support can include:


  • job search, resume, interview and job skills training
  • develop a plan to find the right job
  • access job specific training courses, such as RSA, RCG, or safety qualifications to help people get the edge in a competitive labour market.


  • assistance applying and interviewing for jobs
  • connect with provider’s existing network of potential employers, marketing you as a candidate
  • organise work experience, trials and internships to get your foot in the door


  • work with employers to make transition into work as smooth as possible
  • organise government funded workplace modifications and assistive technology where required
  • ongoing support throughout the employment journey, liaising with you and your employer to overcome any barriers, and progress your career. 

How to access DES

If you have an injury, illness or disability and want to access Disability Employment Services you have two options:
  • Register with Centrelink by visiting a service centre or calling their employment services line. From there you will be able choose your preferred service provider.
  • Register directly with a DES Provider. You will be advised of any evidence or documentation required to complete registration. There is a full list of providers online at Job Access – Find a Provider.  

What to look for in a DES provider

You can choose from almost any provider that best suits your needs, whether it is based on recommendation, service style, performance or simply by location.

Some key things to consider when choosing a provider include:

Individualised Plan

Employment is not ‘one size fits all’. To find the right job for you a provider needs to listen to your goals, identify and address any challenges, and work with you to develop a job plan specifically suited to you.

Dedicated Support

Each provider has a different service offering. One-on-one support ensures that the provider is just as invested in your success as you are. Having one point of call, at every step of the journey, means that you know exactly who to talk to about your goals, challenges and achievements.

Service Approach

How do they go about matching you with potential employment? Rather than trawling job search sites, case managers can ‘reverse market’ you to potential employers, finding a job that fits you, rather than fitting you into a job. How many clients does your case manager support? If you are 1 of 50, they may not have as much time to celebrate your success as others.


A large local network of enthusiastic inclusive employers, across a number of industries and sizes, means you will stand a better chance of finding the right job. This includes businesses that are willing to host job trials and flexible opportunities.

Additional Support

Finding a job is just the tip of the DES iceberg. Providers can organise training and professional development, internships and work experience, NDIS support, linkages with health providers as well as workplace modifications and assistive technology.


How do they measure success? Star Ratings are one indication of the how successful DES providers are at securing sustainable employment for their participants. Providers are given a rating out of 5 and the results published every 3 months for you to compare. This measure means that you know that providers like Castle who achieve consistently high star ratings are more likely to achieve an outstanding result for you. Star ratings are a useful tool but are only part of the story. Your journey to employment should be unique to your goals, and not be made to make up a provider’s numbers.



Changing providers

If at any point you’re not satisfied with your current DES provider you are able to change providers up to 5 times, no questions asked.
If you want to transfer across to Castle, just visit one of our offices or call 1300 817 917 and we can organise everything for you!