Our People

Our People

Peter Smith

Director - Melbourne

PhDc - Northern Clinical School, Sydney Medical School - University of Sydney.

MHlthSc (Developmental Disability) University of Sydney,

BAppSocSc (Counselling) ACAP,

Certified Employment Support Specialist (CESP)

Research Fellow - University of Melbourne

Director - Centre for Disability Employment Research and Practice.

Counsellor and Disability Practitioner.

Peter recently completed his PhD thesis entitled "A Systems Analysis of Factors that lead to the Successful Employment of People with a Disability" which examined the current systems of employment supports for people with a disability, with the expectation that the research will lead to a new understanding and provide evidence towards the development of new systems that provide better employment outcomes for people with a disability. This research developed a new systems model of disability employment that will inform CDERP's work. The driver for completing his PhD was his experience of the DES system as a DES employee and time spent working for the DES provider peak body; Disability Employment Australia. Nothing like basing research on practical experience to drive the quest for answers.

Peter consults, research's and lectures on disability, transition and employment related areas in Australia, Singapore, USA and New Zealand and annually attends a think tank in Montana, USA run by the Centre for Social Capital working on issues related to disability employment, along with visiting providers and officials in the USA. He recently completed two terms as a member of the Maroondah Disability Advisory Committee. As part of our development of Customised Employment training for Australia, Peter has undertaken comprehensive training and certification in the USA. This is to ensure that contextualisation for Australia maintains the integrity of practice vital to ensuring true evidence based practice is delivered and itegrity of practice is maintained. Peter spends a significant part of the year overseas working and developing skills in relation to organisational change in the disability employment space in both open employment and supported employment.

In 2014 Peter was involved in a disability employment research project as an associate at Deakin University, School of Psychology, headed by Professor Keith McVilly. His current research at centres on social entreprise, SLES and Transitions, disability entreprises and open employment. Peter's practice interest is organisational change with a focus of the disability employment environment and is currently undertaking CDERP's extensive employer research project that seeks to set out employer drivers for employing staff. This project will also inform CDERP's Customised Employment Training. In his spare time he develops new models of practice for DES and ADE transition based on field experience, participant interviews, policy drivers and theory.

Contact: 61 427 813840

Email: peter.smith@cderp.com.au

Peter Rhodes

Associate - Brisbane

B.App.Sc., Grad. Dip. Nutr. & Diet. Queensland Institute of Technology

MHlthSc. (Developmental Disability) University of Sydney

Peter has a background in allied health, practicing as a private Dietitian/Nutritionist for over 30 years. In 2002, his son Jackson was born. Unfortunately, due to a birthing incident his son contracted severe Cerebral Palsy (spastic quadriplegia/ dystonia). Peter, wife Michelle and son Jackson currently live at the coalface of disability and disability support services.

In 2010, Peter completed his Masters in Developmental Disability through Sydney University, empowering him and his family to tackle the challenges of a new world. Peter also has served on the two Regional Disability Councils in Queensland and is currently supporting housing accommodation for a local family with disability in his district. Peter is currently working on our IWF project supporting staff and organisational transition.

Peter brings his research skills and the lived experience of disability to the centre and serves to provide a holistic approach to the employment question. Peter as an interest in video production and is responsible for our media production.

Email: peter.rhodes@cderp.com.au

June Alexander

Associate - Adelaide

PhD Candidate – School Of Education, Faculty of Education, Humanities & Law, Flinders University South Australia

Masters Disability Studies, Flinders University

BAppSc (Developmental Disabilities), Flinders University

Lecturer - Disability and Community Inclusion Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University

June is currently undertaking a PhD thesis entitled: “The state of on-the-job training in Australian Disability Employment Services: Implications for Policy & Practice.”  The study will determine the nature and extent of the provision of on-the-job training for supported employees with disabilities.  The research will identify what factors influence the provision of on-the-job training by disability vocational trainers, and present recommendations to support disability employment services and staff, to provide effective training to those with intellectual disability.

As part of her role in the Disability and Community Inclusion Unit at Flinders University, June is involved in the supervision of students undertaking research, and has a particular focus on employment and training for people with intellectual disability.

June's previous experience includes various Senior Management roles, including CEO of a rural Disability Service.  Her experience includes involvement on numerous Disability Employment Boards.  From her earliest job as hands on staff, to her current roles, June's passion for quality workplace training including Systemtaic Instruction Training for those with an intellectual disability has been evident. June is our resident Systematic Instruction Specialist.

Lauren Pavlidis

Subject Matter Expert - Melbourne

​Bachelor of Behavioural Studies (Psychology) Swinburne University of Technology.​

Lauren is our lead researcher in our first stage Discovery project and also works as an intern counsellor in our associated practice that delivers specialised assessments and therapeutic services to the general public and NDIS clients . Lauren has an interest in many areas of mental illness, ranging from phobias, identity issues, relationship issues, communication, PTSD, social media addiction, crisis intervention, drug and alcohol addiction, depression and anxiety with a specialisation in criminality.​

Lauren majored in advanced psychology and minored in psychology and criminology. Lauren has also broadened her knowledge and applied skills during her volunteer work for a drug and alcohol addiction clinic. Lauren offers a psychological and cognitive perspective to our team. In 2018, Lauren will be commencing further studies to continue her learning journey and enhance her skill sets. Lauren is currently supporting staff that have undergone CE training to fully operationalise their skills to support clients pursue and achieve open employment outcomes.

Email: lauren.pavlidis@cderp.com.au