Health and Aged Care

Developing leaders for the changing disability services sector

EPIC Assist Leaders
EPIC Assist leaders undertaking the Emerging Leaders Program in the QUT Executive Education Centre

The National Disability Insurance Scheme has transformed the business landscape for the disability sector, requiring organisations to develop leaders who are agile, innovative and commercially savvy. However, non-profit and ‘for benefit’ provider organisations often struggle to make the business case for investment in leader development, as this can be seen as being at the expense of frontline delivery. That can be a risk to organisational vision and mission, as James Shepard pointed out in the Stanford Social Innovation Review article, Leadership Development: Five Things All Non-profits Should Know.   

QUTeX has recently partnered with disability services provider EPIC Assist to design a leadership program to meet their particular industry changes. EPIC Assist provides a personalised service across Australia to assist people with disability to achieve their goals. EPIC Assist came to QUT EX with a need to build adaptability, agility and commercial awareness with their current and emerging leaders. They want to assist staff and the organisation to respond innovatively to the industry challenges presented in the changed Federal funding arrangements. QUT EX will help EPIC Assist deliver its vision of being the most innovative and unique provider of human and community services.

EPIC Assist General Manager Dean Graham and Vice-Chancellor Peter Coaldrake sign a contract for the EPIC Assist Leader Development Program with QUT EX in October 2017.

The program will be embedded in the QUT Emerging Leaders Program with additional learning experiences drawn from the Coaching Hub and Business Connect series of short courses. The QUT Emerging Leaders Program provides a blended learning approach, including online and face-to-face workshops. The program design is based on authentic, practical, work-relevant learning which accelerates the application of theory into observable and sustainable changes to the EPIC Assist workplace.

For the workshop element of the program, EPIC Assist leaders undertaking the courses have the benefit of joining a learning environment with leaders from other organisations and sectors, including government and industry. This is particular advantage, as EPIC Assist leaders increasingly need to have an outward focus, building relationships with internal and external stakeholders and integrating initiatives.

The QUT Emerging Leaders Program will also offer EPIC Assist leaders undertaking the course the opportunity to be involved in an academic pathway to accreditation. Those with academic aspirations will undertake further online learning and assessment for each unit to receive a Graduate Certificate in Business.

EPIC Assist program leaders undertaking the courses will start their learning journey with QUTeX in February 2018.


Dr Kate Joyner is the Interim Director, Corporate Programs and Learning Innovation in the Graduate School of Business, QUT. Kate provides academic leadership for the Public Sector Management Program and delivers executive education in the areas of leadership, systems thinking and strategy. Kate’s speciality is developing leaders and leadership groups for the challenges of the 21st century.

1 Comment

  1. avatar
    Catherine See Reply

    Fantastic story Kate. Great to have a for-benefit organisation with the vision to invest in their leaders.

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