An expert disability practitioner from the United Kingdom visited Queensland this week to speak to support workers in the disability sector about the incoming National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Heralded as the biggest change to the disability industry in the history of Australia, the NDIS will see the demand for support workers double across the next few years.

The Disability Support Workers (DSW) Conference was the first of its kind in Queensland, hosted by two of Queensland’s largest disability service organisations, CPL and Multicap, along with the Queensland Government’s Centre of Excellence for Clinical Innovation and Behaviour Support.

The conference saw local and international speakers address disability support workers from across the state to help them best prepare for the launch of the NDIS in mid-2016.

When fully operational in 2018-19, the NDIS scheme will provide disability care and support to 460,000 Australians and is estimated to cost around $22 billion dollars.

Mary Johnson, who visited from the UK, spoke about her experiences as an expert practitioner in the disability sector and her passion for supporting individuals with disabilities to live meaningful lives.

Ms Johnson has experienced the system transition to similar schemes in the UK during the 1990’s and has managed disability support organisations throughout the rapid and radical change.

 “Quality support for people with disabilities is what makes a real difference; we need support workers who understand and work with each individual to ensure they are living the life they choose,” Ms Johnson said.

“It’s great to see that CPL, Multicap and the Centre for Excellence (for Clinical Innovation and Behaviour Support) are being so proactive and providing training and support for their employees coming into the NDIS.

“It’s an exciting time for Australians and I’m grateful for the opportunity to come and share my knowledge,” she said.

Angela Tillmanns, CPL CEO, said that the NDIS will mean people with disabilities will have much greater choice and control over their support options.

 “CPL has always been passionate about having a team who are committed to delivering the best possible service for every client, every day in every way,” Ms Tillmanns said.

Joanne Jessop, Multicap CEO, said that almost 200 support workers attended the two day conference.

“It’s great to see that support workers are equally as passionate about providing great service and support for people with disabilities,” Ms Jessop said.

The DSW Conference will take place over two days, and aims to prepare the disability support workforce for the launch of the NDIS in Queensland.