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Retiring CEO says good people the key

Finding employment for people is one of the last professions that can change a person’s life, according to Mick White.

It is one of the reasons he has loved his job at Western District Employment Access (WDEA) for over 27 years now.

“I always tell people it’s a very short step from one side of that counter to another and finding the right job can change your life around,” the retiring CEO said.

Mr White’s employment is no exception, after a 20-year career in the Australian Navy to CEO of WDEA, he feels blessed to have had two rewarding careers in his lifetime.

“I always believed you only had one career so when I returned from the navy and was in my 40s I just thought I’d take on a new type of role and see how it all panned out.”

Years later Mr White has helped expand WDEA from a three-person operation housed at the bottom of TAFE to a successful business organisation with 17 branches spanning the state.

“I remember being a three-person operation run under TAFE with wages funded by the council. We soldiered along like that for more than six years until there was half-a-dozen of us.”

The organisation now boasts 420 staff members, approximately 90 of which have a disability, confirming Mr White’s promise to practice what he preaches.

“Our performance is measured on how many jobs we find for people, and evidence is in the sheer number of people on our books. We currently have 7000 able-bodied and 2500 with disabilities.”

Aside from securing employment for job seekers with disabilities WDEA now has employment services for able-bodied individuals, training services, enterprises and has established charitable trusts and community services.

“I believe the secret of our success has always been our people,” Mr White said.

“I have always surrounded myself with good people. It’s not about Mick White knowing how to network or knowing how to do his job, it’s that Mick White knows how to find good people.”

And when the south-west region loses one of it’s finest men in a few months to retirement Mr White is confident his replacement will continue the successes.

“We’ve always hired the best people for the position and this will be no exception,” Mr White said.

Now in his 60s, Mr White feels it is time to hand the reigns over and allow himself more time for family.

“It’ll give me more time for my racehorses and other interests, but I will miss interacting with good people the most.”

Material Courtesy of the Warrnambool Standard.

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  • WDEA Works Employment division incorporates both Disability Employment Services and jobactive.
  • Disability Employment Services
  • jobactive