05/09/2006 - 22:00

Shake-up for employment services

05/09/2006 - 22:00

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The Federal Government’s latest round of tendering for employment service providers in Western Australia has produced a number of casualties in this extremely competitive market, including one of the largest Work for the Dole organisations in Australia, W

Shake-up for employment services

The Federal Government’s latest round of tendering for employment service providers in Western Australia has produced a number of casualties in this extremely competitive market, including one of the largest Work for the Dole organisations in Australia, Westnet Employment Services.

A Department of Employment and Workplace Relations spokesman confirmed that Westnet’s tender was not successful, and its WFD contracts covering the Perth metropolitan area, Midlands, Wheatbelt and the Goldfields would be terminated at the end of the year.

It is unclear what direction the company will take, however WA Business News understands it will continue to fulfil its commitments up until Christmas.

Established in 1990, Westnet has undertaken more than 450 WFD projects and provided placements for over 6,000 participants since the scheme was introduced in 1997.

The WFD initiative, and other employment service contracts, attract a mix of organisations from the private and not-for-profit sectors, who apply to the government to run scheme/s in a particular area for a period of up to three years.

In this tender, service providers including AMA Services WA Pty Ltd, Communicare Inc, Mission Australia and Community First Inc have all been successful and are now in the process of expanding their operations.

Communicare Inc general manager Wayne Stevenson said the non-profit organisation would now be offering the WFD program in Perth’s northern suburbs out of its Mirrabooka office.

Communicare Inc already offers a range of employment services in the area, and in the surrounding areas of Cannington, Armadale and Belmont.

He said although the flow of job seekers had slowed over the past 12 months due to WA’s record low unemployment levels, the charity still had plenty of work to do finding work experience for job seekers and sourcing new WFD activities.

“Our workforce structure still does not encourage opportunities for mature age, single parent and disabled job seekers to find work, and so we are continually looking at local businesses to show them how they can conduct their staffing differently,” Mr Stevenson said.

The charity believes the reason why its tender was successful was a result of the quality of its existing Job Network services, fundraising initiatives and its strength in diversity.

Mission Australia, one of the largest charities and employment services providers in the country, has won a contract for Perth’s south-east metropolitan area and will promote the government’s new Welfare to Work program, amongst others.

WA state manager Angie Paskevicius believes Mission Australia was successful because of its national network, considerable expertise and experience, and its consistency in exceeding outcomes.

Also losing out in the latest round of tenders was the non-profit Jobs West, having to close its New Apprenticeships Centre in Malaga and will absorb the centre’s 10 employees into other areas of its burgeoning business.

Westnet Employment Services  was not available for comment.

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