EPIC Assist is a leading not-for-profit organisation. For over 25 years they have been changing the lives of people who are disadvantaged or marginalised, through employment and education. As a leader in disability recruitment, Epic Assist prides itself on its ability to match the right person to the right job to facilitate long-term outcomes for jobseekers and employers. We spoke to Northern New South Wales Employment Services Manager, Jock McNamara to find out more about the organisation championing workplace diversity.
How long have you been servicing the community?
From our humble beginnings in Brisbane, Queensland in 1990, EPIC Assist has grown to over 300 staff and now operates from approximately 50 service centres.
In 2005 we opened a small service centre in Lismore with only 25 participants. In 2013 we expanded across the Northern Rivers opening full time centres at Grafton, Lismore, Ballina and Tweed Heads with part time services at Yamba, Byron Bay, Casino, Evans Head and Kyogle.
We now support over 400 participants with 180 or 45% of them currently working and still receiving some support from us. Many others have found work with our help and no longer need our support.
What services do you offer?
As of 1 July 2015, EPIC Employment Service relaunched as EPIC Assist, broadening its services for people with disability and to encourage disability confidence in the community and workplace.
We are passionate about workplace diversity, creating disability confident workplaces and assisting jobseekers and employers to realise what’s possible.
Our services include recruitment services that provide employers access to the hidden talent pool, disability employment services that assist people with disability finding meaningful employment and individual support services (e.g. Your Life Your Choice and NDIS). As an RTO we offer education and training for employers and people with disability. As a registered BAS Agent we provide professional outsourcing services (e.g. bookkeeping).
What is the difference between EPIC and other employment services?
- Person-centred approach: We cater to your individual needs, whether you are an employer or person with disability and work with everyone involved to ensure everyone’s needs have been met.
- Care and kindness: We genuinely care for our jobseekers and employers and do what’s best for them, we do not treat them like a number.
- Solution focussed: We remove barriers and find the best possible employment solutions for our jobseekers and employers.
- Local community relationships: We believe through employment the whole community benefits and therefore have a strong community focus.
- Competitive Advantage: We aim to give both businesses and jobseekers an ‘edge’. Businesses have access to an untapped hidden talent pool, while job seekers are prepared for the competitive labour market.
- One stop shop: EPIC Assist has a number of services jobseekers and businesses can benefit from including education, training, professional outsourcing/bookkeeping services, disability employment and recruitment.
- Experience: As an industry leader we have been facilitating job matches between jobseekers and employers for 25 years.
- Range of Services: We offer a variety of services to suit businesses and individuals.
- Support: At all stages of the employment process our staff provide individualised support.
Have there been many success stories over the years?
We are proud to have supported lots of young people through school based traineeships and apprenticeships and into trades.
One young person came to us isolated by serious anxiety after being bullied at school. At first he was too anxious to leave his house to come to our office. Over a few months we helped build his confidence, we found a supportive employer he could work with one on one, and he grew more confident. After six months he was re-connected with friends, he was totally comfortable when he came to the office, and he chose to move to a new job and a new life in Brisbane.
There are many stories like that with people of all ages. It is great to see young people with so much in front of them get a break, but we also have many good stories of adults with long work histories, who through illness or injury, can no longer do their usual job. We work with them to reach their goals, working through a Job Plan to prepare them for the right job with the right employer.
What drives you and your team?
Seeing the difference we make to individual’s lives. It can be as little as connecting them with the support needed to start the journey back to being a fully participating member of their community, or it can be seeing people make a full recovery, get a job and no longer need our support. We rely on employers being happy with our service and ensure we give them every support. We seek employer’s feedback and it encourages us to hear they trust us to provide them with a valuable employee who will be supported as long as it is needed.