Increasing the economic participation of people with disability is a key goal of the NDIS. The Federal Government has announced the first funding opportunity under the new ILC category ‘The Economic and Community Participation Program’. This Program has been outlined in the ILC National Investment Strategy. It is linked to the newly established Participant Employment Taskforce, which focuses on “building employer demand with community awareness, engagement and training, to increase the employment of people with disability.”
So what are the nuts and bolts of this funding opportunity?
Eligible Grant Activities
All project applications must contribute to achieving ILC’s key outcomes and align with at least one of the following Key Activity Areas:
Individual capacity building – making sure people with disability have the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to set and achieve their goals.
Community awareness and capacity building – making sure community activities and programs understand the needs of people with disability and have the skills and knowledge they need to be more inclusive.
Capacity building for mainstream services – making sure mainstream services have the knowledge and skills they need to meet the needs of people with disability.
Applications addressing ILC Priority Cohort Groups are encouraged;
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Questioning and Plus.
Remote and rural delivery.
The Grant Guidelines provide an insight into what the NDIA is looking to fund. They tell us that eligible grant activities could include:
Capacity Building for Employers – build the capacity of workplaces to attract, employ and retain people with disability.
Pathways to Employment – programs that build employable skills of people with disability in workplace settings.
Fostering Entrepreneurship – programs that build capability for people with disability to develop and maintain successful self-employment.
Now to the all-important key selection criteria. There are two which each carry equal weight:
KSC 1 – Demonstrate the need and suitability of the proposed activity (525 word limit).
KSC 2 – Demonstrate organisational capacity and capability to successfully deliver the project (525 word limit).
Eligibility to apply is outlined in the grant round guidelines.
You have until 2pm AEDT on 13 March 2019 to submit your application.
Projects need to be completed within one year commencing July 2019. However, applicants can apply to the NDIA to consider an extension, including a revised project outline and budget.
Successful grants are likely to be announced in June 2019. This tight turnaround indicates there is an expectation projects should be ready to hit the ground running.
There is no limit to the amount of funding you can apply for. So go wild! (Well, not too wild). In other words don’t allow your budgeting to constrain your creativity.
It is an open competitive opportunity– applications will be assessed on merit and compared to other submissions.
You can only lodge one application per organisation (unless you are a non-lead in a consortium application or as an auspicor, in which case you can submit a separate application).
The grant round has a national focus, but applicants can be national, state-based or across multi-jurisdictions.
You have the opportunity to ask questions and seek clarification. Questions must be sent to the Community Grants Hub by no later than 5.00pm AEDT on 6 March 2019. You can call them on: 1800 020 283 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is an interesting document accompanying the Grant Guidelines on the Community Grants Hub website. Titled ‘Summary Report – Shifting the Dial on Employment’, it outlines ideas and solutions that were discussed at a recent forum on how to achieve sustainable change in employment outcomes for people with disability. Most of the ideas adopted a long term view, such as parents building their children’s expectations from a young age. Along with the ideas in the Grand Guidelines, these suggestions provide some insight into the Agency’s thinking.
Finally, our usual takeaway messages:
Carefully read the guidelines… more than once.
Be realistic about what you are able to deliver and what it will cost.
Don’t leave uploading your application to the eleventh hour.
Best of luck! And may the odds be ever in your favour!