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Looking for a new DES provider?

The recent closure of some Disability Employment Services (DES) providers has left many job seekers feeling lost and wondering what to do next.

If you have found yourself unexpectedly in need of a new DES provider due to recent changes, we want you to know that you’re not alone.

Change can bring about a lot of feelings.

You might be feeling angry that you need to retell your story to a new provider. You may have had a great relationship with your employment consultant and worry that you may not have this with your new provider. You might currently be receiving on-the-job support and be concerned that your employer will drop your hours if you don’t continue to receive that support.

All these feelings are valid.

EPIC Assist (EPIC) understands that change can be unsettling, which is why our team are here to walk with you on your employment journey, every step of the way.

We pride ourselves on providing a personalised service to our participants and getting to know you, your circumstances, and your goals, to put together a plan that is right for you.

That’s why we have put together the information below to help you make a choice and take control of your employment journey.

Ryan and Jolleen smile outside Woolworths
Jolleen celebrates 15 years working at Woolworths with EPIC Area Manager Ryan

It’s your choice

If your current DES provider is no longer delivering services in your area, you can choose a provider that suits you.

On this page, you can read about the employers that EPIC works with and feedback comments from participants just like you. You can also watch a video about our dedicated staff, to give you a feeling for what EPIC’s all about.

You have until the 7th of October 2022 to choose a new DES provider. If you choose to do nothing, you will be allocated a new DES provider in your area.

What you need to do

You can find a new provider by going to the JobAccess website. Enter in your postcode and DES-Employment Support Services (ESS) / DES- Disability Management Services (DMS) and a list of providers will come up.

You may wish to request EPIC Assist, if you feel we are the right fit for you after reading the information on this page.

Once you have found a new provider, call the National Customer Service Line on 1300 854 414 and let them know. They will help you move to your new provider.

Why choose EPIC?

EPIC has been helping people with disability find meaningful employment for over 30 years. We have over 40 offices located along the east coast of Australia with centres in Queensland, New South Wales, and Tasmania.

EPIC is proud to provide a quality service which means we are not affected by any of the recent changes, and will continue to deliver Disability Employment Services across all areas we currently operate in.

Our EPIC team are passionate about their local area and finding supportive employers who have opportunities in their business.

Being a not-for-profit, we focus our efforts on improving the lives of people with disability through employment outcomes that match the skills and goals of our participants. We also work alongside employers to ensure their needs are met and the employment relationship between participant and employer is mutually beneficial.

John Williams standing beside his EPIC employment consultant, Neil
John Williams standing beside his EPIC employment consultant Neil

What participants say about our service

In August 2022, we asked our jobseekers to give us feedback on the service they receive at EPIC.

Here’s what they had to say.

“Your people ask genuine questions and are willing to work with me to help assist me alongside my issues instead of ignoring them.” – Zac, Ballina

“Friendly, informative and take a personal interest in the individual. I feel that I am treated as a person and not just a number. My ideas and thoughts on my future are encouraged and they provide the assistance and support in achieving my career goals.”

Nerrisa, Caloundra

“From the start, EPIC recognised the importance of matching the client with the right consultant. My person couldn’t have been better for me! And thank goodness, because I have just been through the most difficult time in life and my consultant was there supporting me all the way. EPIC really seems to believe in a ‘whole person’ approach to helping their clients move forward in life. I am deeply grateful I have EPIC by my side and am excited about my future life potential because of the support and insight they have given me. I will rave about EPIC till the cows come home. Keep doing what you’re doing, it is so important we evolve this way.” – Danielle, Launceston

“Very supportive. Best provider I’ve ever been to. Easy to talk to and they have a genuine desire to help people.”

Linda, Indooroopilly

“Always listening. Willing to help in every aspect of my life where they can. Always checking in to see how I’m doing.” – Sharyn, Helensvale

“The service, passion and dedication shown is amazing. I have been blessed to have been taken care of by some fantastic people at your organisation. Let me just say, don’t change too much, great people, lovely compassionate people.”

Henry, Ipswich

EPIC’s staff are passionate and committed

What type of employers do we work with?

At EPIC, we pride ourselves on finding the right job for the right person, so we work with employers of many different types and sizes.

You can read more about some of the local employers across Australia that we work with below.

Kingfisher Bay Resort, Hervey Bay

Kingfisher Bay Resort is one of the biggest and first real ecotourism builds in the country. The resort employs over 350 people across its four businesses and takes its role as an equal opportunity employer seriously.

When Kingfisher Bay Resort was recruiting for a trainee program, EPIC Assist connected with the resort to suggest some local job seekers with disability. Rebecca’s studies in Hospitality made her the ideal candidate and EPIC soon helped her land her a job on K’gari (Fraser Island) as a Hospitality Assistant.

Rebecca stands in front of a bar at Kingfisher Bay Resort
Rebecca works behind one of Kingfisher Bay Resort’s bars and also assists the events team.

When Rebecca was diagnosed with autism and ADHD back in grade 10, she didn’t ever picture herself landing a full-time job at a fancy resort on a tropical island. But after two years of climbing the ranks at Kingfisher Bay Resort and well on her way to becoming a team leader, it’s clear that’s exactly what she’s done.

“The person I was two years ago, I probably wouldn’t even recognise who I am now,” said Rebecca.

She spends her days serving up coffees and cocktails behind one of Kingfisher’s five restaurants and three bars and assisting with the 120 weddings and events the island hosts.

“When I actually first started, I knew nothing. I knew nothing about working in a resort, nothing about being a bartender, being a barista, nothing about waitressing.

“But they trust me with a lot of stuff now. I’ve memorised the whole cocktail list, I can do any of the cocktails on there, I can do any of the coffees.

Australian Spatial Analytics, Brisbane

Brisbane-based data analytics business, Australian Spatial Analytics (ASA), is forging a new path for diversity and inclusion. They almost exclusively employ neurologically diverse people who have a keen interest in technology and data sciences.

In 2020, ASA connected with EPIC and the team at Strathpine to help them hire job-ready, quality candidates with autism. Since then, EPIC has helped ASA hire more than six people into sustainable, gainful employment.

Harrison is one of the newest junior data analysts EPIC has helped secure employment for at ASA.

“I haven’t been stable for almost three years. And this is starting to get me there,” he said.

“I’ve been able to do such things as afford a haircut, which has been nice.”

Harrison siting in front of his desk at Australian Spatial Analytics.
Harrison is one of the newest junior data analysts EPIC has helped secure employment for at Australian Spatial Analytics.

For others like Louis, the best part of the job is learning and developing new skills and knowledge.

“I now know a whole lot more about the electrical grid that I didn’t know anything about before,” Louis said.

Louis siting in front of his desk at Australian Spatial Analytics.
Louis came to EPIC after hearing they help people with autism.

Sheraton Mirage Resort, Port Douglas

This 5-star resort is passionate about providing opportunities for meaningful employment. They currently employ two participants through EPIC, Angelica and Josh.

Angelica has been working in the Reef restaurant for over 10 years. She says she loves working there, and her job has helped her gain independence and confidence.

Human Resources Manager Michele says “Giving someone like Ange the opportunity to have meaningful employment is really important.”

EPIC participant Angelica and Sheraton HR Manager Michelle stand in front of some pot plants.
EPIC job seeker, Angelica, is a waitress at the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort in Port Douglas.

Josh works in the hotel’s large scale laundry, where he has learnt to operate a range of machines over the past 12 months. Josh’s manager Rob says he is a hands-on learner and has a great capacity to retain knowledge.

“If you can find the right person for the job, whether they have a disability or not, the right person for the right job is what you look for,” Rob says.

a young man dressed in all white pushes a large green laundry basket towards an open washing machine with white sheets spilling out
Josh who has Asperger’s is thriving in his role in the laundry department at Sheraton Grand Mirage Port Douglas

Woolworths Supermarkets

EPIC has helped a number of job seekers find their dream job at Woolworths across the country.

Alex came to EPIC over 4 years ago and landed his first role collecting trolleys for Singh Enterprises. Through this role, his bubbly nature and outstanding customer service were noticed by Woolworths staff who approached him about a role inside their store.

Working inside Woolworths was Alex’s dream job, so he jumped at the opportunity.

Alex began his role with full support, which included being picked up from home, on-the-job support while at work, and getting dropped back home after his shift. We provided Alex with travel training, and he has since been able to travel to work unaided and work his shift alone.

Alex disposes of rubbish at Woolworths.
Alex’s duties include putting away stock, tidying up the shelves and clearing cardboard, checking for out of date stock, cleaning the glass on the fridges and freezers, and even making announcements on the store’s PA system.

Jolleen and her sister Catherine recently celebrated their 15th anniversary working at Woolworths.

Over the last 15 years, the sisters have become somewhat of a star at the store, with many customers seeking out their friendly smiles so they can say hello.

They’ve worked in many departments during their time at Woolworths, from restocking shelves to preparing biscuits in the bakery.

Two women with Down syndrome prepare cookies in the Woolworths bakery
Jolleen with her sister, Catherine, working in the bakery on her 10th anniversary at Woolworths.

Grafton Sunset Caravan Park, Grafton

Over the years Grafton Sunset Caravan Park has employed five people with disability through EPIC, with three currently working at the park.

Warren, Shannin, and Trey came to EPIC at different stages of their employment journeys. They each have different disabilities, experiences, and career goals, which is why it is so important that EPIC provides holistic and personal support.

Warren is 67 and along with other injuries, he lost 90% use of his left arm after a bad accident. He could have retired when he moved to Grafton four years ago but wanted to keep working because he loves having something to do each day.

“I started working when I was 12. The thought of sitting at home all day, every day, I was bored. I need to work, I love work,” says Warren.

“I’ve worked at the Sunset Caravan Park for two and half years now and have enjoyed every minute of it.”

On the other hand, as this is Shannin’s first job, he needed extra support building a resume and practising for interviews. He is currently enjoying all the benefits that come with having meaningful employment.

“I’ve become a lot more independent. I’ve just been able to buy a new car,” says Shannin.

Mary Eleanor Natural Funeral Care, Hobart

Working at a mortuary wasn’t something Kai had ever considered but he decided to give it a go. He went in for an interview and found out that he got the job three days later.

“I was really excited when I found out I got the job. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all, but it turned out to be the perfect match,” said Kai.

Kai’s daily tasks change from day to day which is something he enjoys. He states that he loves every aspect of his job and that every task is his favourite task.

“I love this job, being able to help people every day is so rewarding. I come home feeling like I’ve made a difference,” said Kai.

a older women and a young man stand together in front of a window and small garden. The window has a sign that says "May Eleanor". The man is wearing a zip-up back jacket and the women is wearing a black and white patterned dress.
Kai’s employer, Sandra, has been incredibly impressed with how quickly Kai has picked up the job.

Cutting Edge Cabinets, Sunshine Coast

Brett moved to the Sunshine Coast in late 2018, looking for employment. His verbal communication skills were minimal, and when he was able to speak, he had a severe stutter and struggled to get his words out. Talking on the telephone was impossible.

Looking for Brett’s next role, EPIC thought Cutting Edge Cabinets could be a good match.

Cutting Edge Cabinets has been building kitchens on the Sunshine Coast since 2003. Around 12 months ago, they moved into their current, custom build premises at Bell’s Creek near Caloundra.

The company produces a huge 60-70 kitchens a month, which equates to 3-5 per day.

Employee Brett Wilson working the forklift at Cutting Edge Cabinets
EPIC helped Brett get his forklift licence so he can work the forklift at Cutting Edge Cabinets.

Six months later, Brett is in charge of the forklift operations, receiving orders from the multiple trucks that come in and sorting them into their separate jobs. His role also includes edging boards that form the structure for the kitchens.

“EPIC have been really great because they actively sought work for me and found me employment,” Brett said.

“It’s been great to have them there to find employment and support me now that I have a job.”

Villiage Roadshow Theme Parks, Gold Coast

Village Roadshow Theme Parks has been working alongside EPIC for a number of years to offer employment opportunities to people with disability.

Since starting with Charlie & the Chocolate Factory Lolly Shop at Movie World, Tayah has fallen in love with her work. While being surrounded by lollies and chocolate all day seems like anyone’s dream job, for Tayah it’s more than that – it’s the goal she has worked so hard to achieve.

“It’s a good job to work at Movie World and it’s lots of fun,” says Tayah.

“I feel supported and it’s a safe environment.”

What happens next?

Your new provider will be in touch to arrange an appointment.

If you have mutual obligations, these will be suspended from 22 August 2022 until 23 October 2022, to give you time to start working with your new provider.

If you have any questions, you can call the National Customer Service Line on 1300 854 414.

If you would like more information about the DES performance assessment process, go to www.jobaccess.gov.au and search Disability Employment Services.

We’re here to help

If you have any questions about the process of choosing a new provider, or would like to transfer to EPIC, please give our friendly team a call on (07) 3857 5085 or fill in the contact form on this page.

We are happy to answer any questions you may have, and provide you support through this transition.

Participant Brock Tobb and EPIC Assist employment consultant Dina Te Kowhaipy at Hoppy's Express Carwash, Pimpama
Participant Brock with EPIC employment consultant Dina

Our EPIC why

Here at EPIC, our team are passionate about making a difference in the lives of our job seekers.