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Employment Action Centre

Page history last edited by Louise Segafredo 10 years, 2 months ago

 Homepage - Brotherhood timeline  | Service areas - home | Employment and Training - home


1986 (Annual Report)

The Employment Development Unit (forerunner of the Employment Action Centre - EAC) was established with the brief to develop and implement a number of employment initiatives.[1]



Employment Action Centre (EAC) opened in Victoria Street, Fitzroy (April) [2]


Two new programs began at the EAC in conjunction with the Commonwealth Employment Service for adults in long-term unemployment and facing significant difficulties in obtaining work: the Job Club program (one of about 6 in Victoria (most operated by the Government) providing assistance in job placement, and the Adult Access Course developed by the Employment Action Centre for adults between 21-54 years who had been unemployed for a year or more (modelled on the EAC’s Traineeship Access Course for 15-19 year-olds) & funded by the Department of Education, Employment & Training



A special Diamond Jubilee raffle was conducted to raise money for the Frankston and Fitzroy Material Aid Services and the Ballarat and Fitzroy Employment Action Centres, raising $66,418 additional net income[3]


An Employment Action Centre opened in Ballarat (a regional city with an unemployment rate of 17%) supported by the Variety Club of Australia and Perpetual Trustees, at the invitation of Federal Department of Education, Employment & Training.  Initially the EAC ran Traineeship Access Courses for young people aged 15-19 years who were unable to find work[4]


The Active Placement Unit was established in the Fitzroy Employment Action Centre to provide a mentor program for unemployed young people.  One-third of the 60 participants in the first year were homeless[5]


The Disability Access Support Unit was formed to help the 10% of the Employment Action Centre clients who had psychiatric, intellectual or physical impairments restricting their job opportunities.  The program, funded by the Department of Employment, Education and Training, was designed to help them with appropriate skills to obtain and retain paid employment[6]


The Ballarat Employment Action Centre established local employment generation initiatives:

Pixie Property Maintenance, supported by local Apex, Lions and Rotary groups.  It provided paid work experience (in cleaning, gardening and odd job services) to disadvantaged young people as a step towards full employment as well as accepting young people with court contact referred by other local agencies



Big Bin Opportunity Shop opened in Ballarat (the Central Highlands Region) as part of the Donated Goods Division to augment the operations of the Employment Action Centre (EAC) in Ballarat, working to provide training opportunities for EAC graduates and to raise funds for the Region.  Collections from eleven bins supplied the "Big Bin" and mobile shops or were sent directly to Coolaroo.  A feature was the Mobile Shop to take stock to country centres


The Disability Access Support Service, a new statewide initiative funded by the Federal Government to facilitate increased participation in Skillshare programs by people with disabilities, was implemented through the Brotherhood’s Employment Action Centres from September[7]



Following an invitation from Archbishop Peter Hollingworth, the Brotherhood’s Employment Action Centre (EAC) model was replicated as an independent initiative in Queensland under the auspices of the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane



Ballarat establishes a separate material aid centre to accommodate the requests being received through the Employment Action Centre.  The service provided clothing, gift vouchers for the BSL “Big Bin” shop, referrals to other agencies for food, and financial assistance (including small loans and emergency financial relief) and advice to low-income people in the region[9]



The Ballarat Employment Action Centre offered Jobtrain and JobSkills courses and the Landcare & Environment Action Program (LEAP).  LEAP was a Federal Government initiative allowing young people, particularly long term unemployed and those with interrupted or poor educational background between the ages of 15-20 years, to participate in community based conservation projects throughout Australia, gaining work experience and formal training in land care and conservation.  The Brotherhood of St Laurence was commissioned by the Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers (a national LEAP Broker) to develop a curriculum designed specifically to meet LEAP requirements.  The BSL’s LEAP project commenced in Ballarat in 1992, funded by the Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers and auspiced by the BSL.  In the first year a unique environmentally oriented curriculum (Certificate in Basic Landcare & Environment Action - which was accredited by the Office of Technical & Further Education [TAFE]) - was developed and implemented and training was organised throughout Australia for 100 disadvantaged young people[10]



Coolibah Catering Group, in conjunction with the BSL’s Employment Action Centre, commenced a hospitality traineeship program for young people in the Coolibah kitchen (March) with an internal catering function until June.  The catering service had been restructured and extended to include the provision of meals to nearby Sumner House[11]


Fitzroy Employment Action Centre

suggested Vocational Investigation Days as a component of a special 6-week program for older unemployed people, focusing on occupational options and self-development. 

invited 80 agencies to be part of an information & networking day (29 September 1993) 

conducted one-month “Skills Club” courses for unemployed people registered at the Commonwealth Employment Service and between 15-20 years of age (long-term unemployed preferred).  The first week took place at a camp site with life skills training “in an informal and relaxed atmosphere … followed by recreational activities”.  The 2nd & 3rd weeks of training took place at FEAC in Victoria Street, Fitzroy, focusing on job searching skills[12]



The Employment Action Centre, Fitzroy, included a Housing Resource Unit (including a seven-day wilderness program) and the Active Placement Unit (providing individual support and developing the skills of disadvantaged 15-20 year olds).  With a limited employment market, the centre generated its own employment opportunities through a city car wash service and a catering service[13]



In early 1995 the Fitzroy Employment Action Centre offered the following programs & services:

JobSkills (paid work experience combined with formal training)

Job Club (assistance with job searching)

Open Access (provision of job search facilities and supports)

Open Employment Unit (employment placement, onsite training and support to people with disabilities)

Opening Avenues (careers investigation and jobsearch for people over 45), later called Options Now

Case Management (a major Working Nation initiative that commenced in April 1994) offering individual planning and assistance to long-term unemployed mature-aged job seekers

Post Program Support (which provides follow up support for former program users)

A range of programs providing varying types and levels of training and support to young unemployed people with some particularly targeted at those with multiple disadvantages:

Active Placement Unit (vocational guidance and support)

Youth Unit (personal development and job search program)

MOVE (outdoor skills program)

Traineeship Access Course (preparatory training in clerical and retail areas with paid work experience)

The Body Shop partnership project, combining the Brotherhood’s pre-vocational training with paid work experience with The Body Shop in a twelve-month Retail Traineeship for young homeless people

JPET Linked Access Program (employment placement and support)

STEP (a Group Training Scheme utilising traineeships)

Housing Resource Unit (information, advice and some advocacy and financial assistance in relation to accommodation for young people using EAC Services).

The Disability Access Support Service which provides skilled support to Skillshare Programs across the state to increase their capacity to meet the needs of people with disabilities[14]


The Central Highlands Employment Services offered the following programs:

Employment Action Centre - Community Based Employment and the New Work Opportunities Program (a joint venture between the Brotherhood and the Ballarat Aboriginal Cooperative)

Employment Placement Unit

Pixie Property Maintenance Service

Highlands Personnel, Ballarat

Landcare & Environment Action Program (LEAP)

Provincial Communities Enterprise Project [15]



The Central Highlands Regional Committee resolved in August to cease existence and a special implementation task force was set up to investigate alternative management options with appropriate agencies for services in the Central Highlands region.  Recommendations of the task force were accepted by the Board in December 1995 when local and community management of most services was achieved.  … The only services that did not continue were the Pixie Property Maintenance Service, the Employment Action Centre, the Training Unit and the Administration Unit.”  Not all services were transferred.  The Provincial Communities Enterprise Project and the Prevention of Youth Homelessness Project remained with the Brotherhood and management of the Donated Goods Division transferred to Campbellfield[16]


Youth Employment Action Centre opened in Oakleigh (to be validated)



In addition to its regular programs, the Fitzroy Employment Action Centre provided the Options Now pre-vocational program preparing very long-term unemployed people for participation in the workforce by providing personal development, job-seeking skills, career exploration and support in gaining employment placements[17]



An Early School Leavers pilot project Work it Out - to involve the Employment Action Centre, the Social Action & Research Unit & Community Services - began with appointment in February of a project worker.  The first partnership with Brunswick Secondary College was formally launched in July[18]



Employment Action Centre (EAC) changes name to BSL Employment Programs, Job Futures (May)


Visitors to this page:  




  1. BSL Annual Report 1986 - 87 p.4
  2. BSL Annual Report 1998-1989 p.14
  3. BSL Annual Report 1991 p.19
  4. BSL Annual Report 1990 p.10
  5. BSL Annual Report 1991 p. 7
  6. BSL Annual Report 1991 p.7
  7. BSL Annual Report 1992 p.6: “During the first nine months of operation, clients in 87 Victorian Skillshare projects were assisted by a staff of five full-time employees with an operating budget of $500,000 for the year.”
  8. BSL Annual Report 1992 p.6
  9. BSL Internal Working Paper No.2 Overview and History of Income Supplementation services in the Brotherhood of St Laurence (1972-1996) p.19 [BSL_Income_Supplementation_Services_1972-1996.pdf
  10. BSL Annual Report 1993 pp.8-10. For the Certificate in Basic Landcare and Environment Action curriculum document, including the Team Leader’s Guide and the Trainer’s Assessment Journal see the Brotherhood Library Archives - Record Number AR907, Archive Number 1993.14A. See also BSL Annual Report 1995 pp.10-12
  11. BSL Annual Report 1993 p.15. See also Memo from Catering Program Management Group to All Directors & Department Managers (23 June 1993) [Coolibah_Catering_Program_re_Developments_1993-6-23.pdf
  12. Circular advertising “Skills Club” in October-November 1993 (29 September 1993) [EAC_Skills_Club_Outline_1993-9-29.pdf
  13. BSL Annual Report 1994 p.10
  14. BSL Metro Region Strategic Planning Working paper p.46 [BSL_Metro_Region_Strategic_Planning_WorkingPaper_Pt2_1995-3.pdf]. See also BSL Annual Report 1995 pp.10-13
  15. BSL Annual Report 1995 pp.13-14
  16. BSL Annual Report 1996 p.10, 16. The Employment Placement Unit was divested to the Ballarat Community Education Centre; Highlands Personnel became an incorporated body in 1996, operating as an independent organisation; the Employment Action Centre and Pixie Property Maintenance Service closed in 1995; and the Landcare and Environment Action Program continued but under the direction of the Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers
  17. BSL Annual report 1996 p.15
  18. Report of the Community Services Directorate to the Executive Director for September 1997: “To date the Work It Out project at Brunswick Secondary School has had 20 referrals. Interim outcomes include 1 exit to TAFE, 1 interview with DSS for income support, 1 re-entry to school, 1 interview with the Group Training Company and 2 assisted with resume preparation. Self referrals have increased, mainly by Year 10 and 11 students seeking vocational guidance for possible exit at the end of 1997. Given that this is a new project work on clarifying the role of the project worker versus that of the Work Education Coordinator and the role of the various committees is required.” See also [Transition_Project_Beginnings_1997.pdf] and [Transition_Project_Progress_Report_1997.pdf] and [Transition_Project_Draft_Agreement_BSL-BSC_1997.pdf

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