Wendy-Jayne Williams was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of Jobs Statewide 10 years ago at the age of 34. The not-for-profit organisation has since become the leading job network provider in the country, increasing its annual turnover from $100,000 to $21 million and growing from three employees to 160.
Wendy-Jayne started with Jobs Statewide Inc in 1988 when it was known as the Enfield Community Youth Support Scheme. Her passion for helping the long term unemployed was evident even then when she rallied to keep the organisation operating after it was destined to close due to cuts in Government funding.
“I was bought up in the North Eastern suburbs of Adelaide and I felt that these services would be a great loss to the people in the local community,” says Wendy-Jayne. “I formed a small group of unemployed people and approached local members of parliament. As a result, our organisation was given a reprieve and granted 12 months of funding.”
The organisation changed its name to The Plains Employment Training Centre, trading as Gilles Plains Skillshare, and grew steadily over the next 10 years. Wendy-Jayne became the Project Officer/2IC on a full time basis.
“During these years I worked in every position in the organisation and at times performed a multitude of roles,” says Wendy-Jayne. “I also studied and gained certificates in Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations and Personnel.”
Eventually Gilles Plains Skillshare became a nationally accredited training provider, Wendy-Jayne became the Project Manager and the organisation grew to 25 staff. In 1997, Gilles Plains Skillshare was placed in the top 10 percent of high performing Skillshare’s in Australia.
A year later, the government funding era ended and a commercial approach was adopted with the introduction of the Job Network and the Gilles Plains Skillshare became Jobs Statewide Inc.
Jobs Statewide was one of only four organisations in South Australia to win a Job Network contract and this marked a period of rapid growth.
Wendy-Jayne became the General Manager and branches were opened in Adelaide, Modbury, Woodville and Salisbury. At the end of their first Job Network contract, Jobs Statewide received a five star rating for Intensive Assistance and Wendy-Jayne became CEO.
From 1998 to 2003 staffing numbers jumped from 40 employees to 80 and Jobs Statewide Inc became the highest job network performer in South Australia and the second highest performer in Australia.
Jobs Statewide continued to open new branches in South Australia and in 2007 went interstate after being awarded contracts in Melbourne and Sydney.
In the last three years, Jobs Statewide has grown by 40 percent while continuing to set new standards and in the last two years has been the highest performing Job Network provider in Australia.
Jobs Statewide was recently awarded further business in Melbourne after achieving outstanding results in only a few months of operation.
Jobs Statewide currently has about 13,000 job seekers registered throughout its 10 branches and about 3,000 employers from small, medium to large employers across Australia, that provide employment opportunities in a wide range of industries from unskilled to semi-skilled positions.
Since the inception of the Job Network in 1998, Jobs Statewide has placed over 8,000 long term and very long term unemployed job seekers into sustainable employment. In addition to this, in excess of another 6,000 short term unemployed job seekers have been placed into employment by Jobs Statewide.
Trading under Jobs Statewide Inc are Excel Recruitment, Excel Placements and Excel Executive, subsidiary companies formed by Wendy-Jayne in 1998.
“I formed the Excel companies as part of a business plan to provide Jobs Statewide with other income streams, so as not to become reliant on one source of Government income – Job Network – and to broaden employment opportunities for unemployed people registered with Jobs Statewide Inc,” says Wendy-Jayne.
By 2005, Excel Melbourne, Excel Brisbane and Excel Sydney were established.
“Excel is the commercially focused recruitment arm of Jobs Statewide and provides services in labour hire and permanent placements in the white and blue collar industries,” says Wendy-Jayne.
Excel Training also operates as a subsidiary company under Jobs Statewide Inc. It provides job seekers with their own accredited training courses in Aged Care, Hospitality, Information Technology, Building and Construction, Stores and Warehousing, Retail Sales and Office Procedures to name a few.
Jobs Statewide also has a Community Work Coordinator (CWC) contract with the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations to deliver Work for the Dole projects in the North Western Adelaide Employment Services Area. Work for the Dole projects are six months work experience programs designed to develop skills for unemployed people and to improve the local community.
By June 2009, Jobs Statewide, through its CWC contract, would have assisted 3,278 job seekers with work experience and skills development via 110 community development projects in South Australia.