WESTERN District Employment Access (WDEA) has won a five-year extension of its federal government contract to provide employment services to people with a disability in the south-west.
WDEA received strong endorsement of its Disability Employment Services, with the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations offering an automatic rollover of WDEA’s contract for supplying the services in Warrnambool, Colac, Hamilton and Portland.
It was offered without going to tender.
The contract was extended from a three-year period to five years, continuing WDEA’s provision of the services until March 2018.
WDEA chief executive officer Mick White said the organisation provided employment services throughout the south-west to about 500 people with a disability.
About two-thirds of those people were in employment.
The extension of WDEA’s contract means not only that people with a disability will receive employment services of a high standard but also that the 26 WDEA staff who provide the services have surety of employment. Mr White said the organisation’s employment services to people with a disability were provided by about a dozen staff in Warrnambool, six in Portland, five in Hamilton and three in Colac.
Good staff had enabled WDEA to receive the strong endorsement from the federal government.
Mr White said the five-year contract extension would help WDEA retain staff by providing secure employment.
The contract extension was the first time WDEA had secured the ongoing disability contract without having to go to tender.
WDEA received a highly-positive assessment of its Disability Employment Services, gaining a four-out-of-five star rating at all of its four sites.
Disability employment services is one of WDEA’s core provisions and helps people with a disability into employment in the open labour market.
“It helps people to integrate back into the mainstream workforce in a variety of jobs that meet the needs of individual clients,” Mr White told The Standard yesterday.
The service includes assistance with job searching, training and ongoing one-on-one support for people who have an injury, ill health or a disability that is permanent or likely to be permanent.
“It is an important program that helps people with disabilities to re-engage with the community and secure work in the open workforce to their fullest capacity,” Mr White said.
WDEA has been providing employment services to people with a disability since 1989.