National Disability Coordination Officer Program

“Working to improve transitions for people with disability into tertiary education and employment”

National Disability Coordination Officers (NDCO) work at the strategic level with a range of stakeholders to assist people with disability (aged 15-64) successfully transition and participate in Tertiary Education and subsequent employment.

Anna KwanChris Shilton
Anna is a long term Northern Territorian based in Darwin. She has a professional background in speech pathology and policy writing prior to commencing as the NDCO in the Northern Territory in August 2017.Chris is a long term Northern Territorian based in Alice Springs. He works as an NDCO as well as a Disability Liaison Officer for students at CDU’s Alice Springs Campus.

Strategic approach

NDCOs build effective, collaborative relationships in order to identify issues and create opportunities to influence direction. We build and maintain relationships with a wide range of stakeholders at the local level to:

  • reduce barriers
  • facilitate smooth transitions
  • build links and coordinate services
  • improve people’s knowledge to make decisions
  • improve stakeholder capacity to support

The NDCO Program is a Commonwealth Government initiative, first established in 1994 as the Regional Disability Liaison Officer Program (RDLO). In the Northern Territory it is hosted by Charles Darwin University.

NDCOs work in the education, training and employment environment only.

Are there NDCOs in other regions?

There are 31 National Disability Coordination Officers covering every geographical region in Australia.  To find a NDCO in another region, visit: https://www.education.gov.au/contact-details

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Virtual Reality Project

Using the personal stories of students with disability studying at university, this project aims to inspire children and young adults in remote communities in the Northern Territory to consider a tertiary education as a post school pathway. The use of virtual reality technology will be engaging and exciting and will provide a virtual experience of actually seeing and being in a university and feeling what it is like to study at CDU. This project provides an innovative, culturally appropriate and fresh approach to engaging with a large audience that rarely has an opportunity to experience the reality of studying at university to this degree.

Autism and Employment Project

Discussions have commenced with Specialisterne Australia, to develop an interstate experience for young people with Autism. It is intended that the young people will be shown a range of job types and careers in the IT industry in order to open their minds to future career possibilities in the IT industry.

Workshop in Darwin for children with Autism

Expressions of interest are currently being sought by parents and/or professionals working with school aged children (Year 9 and above) with Autism for the STEMLab. It is a 5 day workshop which involves understanding robotics, working in a group, ‘understanding my autism’ whereby participants share stories of their own experiences, understand more about different coping strategies and other helpful tips from other participants and facilitators. It will also provide the opportunity to listen to representatives from IT companies talking about job opportunities in the future.

Gabrielle Hill is studying a Bachelor of Law Degree at Charles Darwin University. She is a mature aged student who started studying at CDU after a wide range of life and study experiences. At CDU Gabrielle has had an Access and Inclusion Plan developed which supports her with reasonable adjustments for osteoarthritis, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety disorder. Since starting her Law Degree, Gabrielle has won the NT NAIDOC Scholar of the Year Award as well as a Runner Up Excellence Award from the Institute of Management. Her attitude towards study is “Just do it! There’s no reason why you can’t choose to change your life.”

Gabrielle Hill's video (external link)

Sam Roberts is studying Certificate 3 in Screen and Media at Charles Darwin University. He has Autism. Sam has enjoyed many aspects of studying at CDU: the learning process, access to media labs, his lecturers, meeting new people and the food at the cafeteria! His advice is “Do something you enjoy and if you really enjoy it, just stick to it!”

Sam Roberts' video (external link)

Webinar:  The Neurodiverse Workforce - Tapping into the Autism Advantage Movement

This webinar covered topics such as: strategies for supporting individuals on their transiton to employment, exploring ideas for workign with employers to think differently about their recrutiment process and the autism advantage.
Presented by Vicky from Specialisterne, hosted by David Jessica and Debbie from the NDCO Program.

Link to download the PowerPoint presentation (PDF)  Link to download the PowerPoint presentation (PPXT)

Webinar:  Customised Employment

This was a well attended webinar with over 300 live participants.
The guest speaker is Gaelen Williams from National Disability Services, hosted by Debbie, David, and Jessica from the NDCO Program.

Link to download the FAQ’s from the webinar (DOCX)
Link to download the process document for Customised Employment (DOCX)
Link to download the powerpoint presentation (PPTX)

Webinar: Jobaccess - How to start the conversation (working with employers)

This webinar highlights some skills and ideas for approaching employers as a professional supporting people with disability into work.  It also highlights the services that JobAccess provides for Australian businesses, people with disability, and employment services.

Hosted by David & Debbie from the NDCO Program, the guest is Daniel Valiente-Riedl, General Manager of JobAccess.

Link to download the powerpoint presentation – JobAccess – How to start the conversation (.PPTX)
Link to download the responses from questions not answered in session (.DOCX)

Webinar: Jobaccess - Helping drive disability employment

This website focuses on the supports available for people with disability to modify workplaces through the Employment Assistance Fund, how to access these supports, and how to best make use JobAccess as your partner to create disability confident and ready workplaces.

Guest speaker is Heather Hill, Client Support Manager at JobAccess – hosted by David and Debbie, from the NDCO Program.

Webinar is captioned and has AUSLAN video feed.

Link to download the powerpoint slides from this webinar (.PPTX)

Webinar: The importance of career guidance for positive transitions

Our guests Barry Ryan and Clive May from Queensland University of Technology’s Your Future Career’s team.

Link to download the presentation (.PPTX)

Australian Disability Clearninghouse on Education and Training has a number of resources. The NDCO Program in the Northern Territory has produced some region specific resources listed below:

inclussionInclusion and Success (PDF 3.2 MB).  Inclusion and Success is a resource for staff at Charles Darwin University aimed at increasing positive outcomes for students with disability.



Inclusion and Success accessible format (DOCX 920 KB). Inclusion and Success is a resource for staff at Charles Darwin University aimed at increasing positive outcomes for students with disability.



Going places. What's next after school? A guide to help.

Contact Details of NDCO

For further information please contact:
Anna Kwan
National Disability Coordination Officer (Mon, Tue, Thurs & Fri)
T: 08 8946 6951
E: anna.kwan@cdu.edu.au
Casuarina Campus
Blue 5.1


Chris Shilton
National Disability Coordination Officer (Mon - Wed)
T: 08 8959 5230
E: chris.shilton@cdu.edu.au
Alice Springs Campus