Western District Employment Access to replace Finding Futures

BALLARAT’S new disability employment services provider says people living with disability in the region will have a smooth transition under new government arrangements. 

Western District Employment Access, which has been operating in Ballarat since 2008, will take over government contracts from Finding Futures from March. 

Chief executive Mick White said Finding Futures staff would be considered for new positions as WDEA expanded in Ballarat. 

“No one likes change, but it is really important when dealing with people with disabilities that routines aren’t changed unnecessarily so we are working for a seamless transition,” he said. 

“The people we have here in our Ballarat office have great contacts in the community and have a great strike rate in finding employment for people.”

The new five-year contract will see WDEA provide 50 per cent of disability employment services in Ballarat, with Community AXIS Enterprises also funded to provide services. 

Last month, The Courier reported federal government funding for Finding Futures had been withdrawn after a competitive tender process. 

Finding Futures chief executive Bryan McCormick said the decision had come as a “bombshell” for the organisation, but that he would work with WDEA and Community AXIS Enterprises to assist the transition. 

Mr White said he was also surprised Finding Futures had not been included in the tender. 

“While we already have disability staff, we will be putting an expression of interest process out for all Finding Futures staff who want to talk to us about ongoing employment,” he said. 

“There will be a gradual transition ahead of the contract starting in March, but client transition will begin around Christmas.” 

The organisation has offices in Horsham, Ararat and Stawell.

thomas.mcilroy@thecourier.com.au

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