THE Bendigo branch of Western District Employment Access has grown in numbers since opening its doors in 2013.
WDEA Bendigo now services more than 300 clients, up from about 100 just 14 months ago.
The company has also secured a new contract which will assist people with short-term disabilities as well as long-term ones.
Site manager Allison Bartlett said WDEA offered a range of services across the board.
“When we first opened we were running a particular disability employment service contract,” she said.
“The ESS is running for people with long-term disabilities that will be around for two years or more.
“In March this year we secured the contract for DMS, a service for people with shorter-term disabilities, like those who are recovering from a workplace injury or accident.”
WDEA, which began with an office in Warrnambool in 1989, helps people with a disability secure a job in the workforce.
Ms Bartlett said word of mouth had helped build WDEA’s client base as well as making sure people were placed into the right jobs.
“We don’t believe in just finding someone a job. It has to be the right job,” she said.
“We are looking out for everyone’s best interests.”
Ms Bartlett said there was still a stigma with businesses employing someone with a disability but it was something that had to be broken down.
“There is very much still a stigma with hiring someone with a disability,” she said.
“We take a person's barrier into consideration but focus highly on their abilities. That’s what we hone in on.”
“The more word gets out there, the more we believe we can decrease the stigma.”
The agency now has 11 offices across Victoria with more than 300 employees working for WDEA.
“We cover a very wide range of people we can service,” Ms Bartlett said.
WDEA has a full-time site at 107 Mitchell Street, Bendigo, as well as sites in Castlemaine, Kyneton and Maryborough.
For more information visit www.wdea.org.au