Our History

Worktrainers was founded in 1989 with a goal of helping people in regional Victoria get a fair go in the job market. It has helped thousands of people into employment since.

Worktrainers is now one of the leading social enterprise businesses in regional Victoria, with two commercial arms of the organisation providing revenue to help deliver programs that give disadvantaged jobseekers fresh opportunities to find work.

Workrainers' first office, Maude Street, Shepparton
GAME's first logo design
hoto from The Shepparton Adviser 1994 - Bin Cleaning Truck with staff, including GAME Manager, Peter Brady.
Worktrainers' staff in 1997
Article in Shepparton News, 1991. Headline "Worktrainers thank businesses"
Worktrainers Logo launch in 1996
2000-2005
Harvest Labour Staff, Vicki, Shane and Emma in front Harvest Labour sign in an orchard.
Article in The Border Mail, 2006. Headline:"Second-hand store give employees a fresh start".
Shane O'Sullivan standing in front of one of the first GAME Traffic Management vehicles holding a stop/slow bat.
Article in Shepparton News, 2013. Headline " Transfer a 'win-win', Good Looking Lawns founder happy to take back control of business.
Photo of Worktrainers' Staff during a Professional Development Day in 2010.
Article in Shepparton News 2009. Headline: "Worktrainers celebrates success." Photo of Kate Montgomery, Kym Bailey, Josh Hudson, Ross Hill, Karen Kilgour, Craig Marshall and Jim O'Connor
Photo of Staff and Board members (Past and present) standing in front of The Workgroup's head office during Jim O'Connors Farewell celebrations.

1989 – 1995

The Stats

  • Started in Shepparton in April 1989 as Goulburn Valley Worktrainers for the Disabled Inc
  • Our inaugural Board Members were L. Blair (President), B. Wittwer (Secretary/Treasurer), A. Gibbs, C. Darby, E. Slender, G.Deeble, M. Anderson, P.Hearney, R. Funston and V. Murdoch
  • Additional Board Members during this period included: D. Johnson (Chair), R. Felton, J. Beaumaris, P.Gierck, M.Klooster (Chair), R. Boschetti (Secretary), R. Keogh (VicePresident), W. Oster (Secretary, Vice President), D. Favaloro (Treasurer),C.Hobley-Smith (Secretary), R. McKenzie, V. Alcorn (Consumer Rep), J.Carter (Consumer Rep), G. Deeble, A. De-Pino Curtis
  • Turnover grew from $112,509.66 (1989) to $934,048 (1995)
  • Manager: Michael Anderson
  • Disability Employment Placements: 38 (1990) and 123 (1995)

And some highlights

  • First formal meeting of committee for Goulburn Valley Worktrainers for the Disabled Inc  held on 18th of July 1989
  • Worktrainers starts servicing the community in April 1990
  • The first client referred was referred to us on the 12th of April and our first placement occurred 8 days later
  •  Inaugural Annual General Meeting held in September 1990
  • New funding stream for Supported Employment Program commenced in April 93, providing services in Mansfield, Echuca and Goulburn Valley areas
  • Worktrainers opens a full-time office in Mansfield to deliver the program at this time
  • Goulburn and Murray Enterprises (GAME) became a business arm of organisation to providing supported work for our clients in 1993, launching a Wheelie Bin Cleaning Service in Shepparton and winning a contract to manage the Rodney Transfer Station
  • We make our first advert for local television TV in 1994,  promoting our employment services.

 

 

1995-2000

The Stats

  • Community Members serving on our Board during this period were D. Favaloro (Chair/Treasurer), G. Elliott (Vice Chair), S. Ollie (Treasurer), A. De Pino Curtis (Secretary), W. Bernhardt (Secretary) and V.Alcorn (Consumer Rep)
  •  Our total turnover grew from $1,066,747 to $2,239,631 over the five years
  • Manager: Jim O’Connor
  • Disability Employment Placements: 129 (1995 – 1996) and 102 (1999 – 2000)
  • Full time offices operating in  Cobram, Echuca, Mansfield, Seymour and  Shepparton and providing an outreach service in Yarrawonga

And some highlights

  • Dropped Goulburn Valley from name – now known as Worktrainers and launched  a new look logo in 1995
  • Secured Pre- Vocational Training tender from Department of Social Security – Heralding Worktrainers becoming a broader based organisation in 1995
  • Passed the first ever Departmental Standards Audit with flying colours and classed as a benchmark organisation in  1996
  • GAME started offering additional services including office cleaning, gardening,  mowing and irrigation systems assembly during 1996/97.
  • Worktrainers entered into working relationship with Mental Illness Fellowship to provide alternatives in employment for people with a mental illness in 1996.
  • Worktrainers opens new full-time offices in  Cobram (1996) thenWanagaratta, Benalla and Kyabram.
  • In 1998 Worktrainers began delivering the Federal Goverment’s  Job Network Contract,  now providing employment services to all jobseekers.
  • GAME wins contract with the Shire of Strathbogie to staff transfer stations in 1998.
  • The second round of Job Network Contracts in 2000 saw Worktrainers winning additional business and expanding services across much of North East Victoria.
  • In  2000 the first  MOU was signed between Worktrainers and KEETA Indigenous Employment  suppporting the establishment of the highly successful  “Ladders to Success” program.

 

 

2000 – 2005

 The Stats

  • Board Members over this period: K. Kilgour (Chair), M. Shields (Consumer Rep), Favaloro, V. Alcorn, R.Harwood, M. Cook, S A’vard, M. Hull, W. Bernhardt, J. Ross, Francis, J. Evans (Treasurer), G. Elliott, C. Chapman, A. Guest-Smith (Vice Chair)
  • Turnover grew from $3,660,218 (2000 – 2001) to $8,177,189 (2004 – 2005)
  • CEO: Jim O’Connor
  • Disability Employment Placements: 128 (2000 – 2001) and 184 (2004 – 2005)
  • Job Network Placements: 1,132 (2000 – 2001) and 2,853 (2004 – 2005)
  • Harvest Labour Placements: 3,641 (2004 – 2005)
  • Offices: Benalla, Cobram, Echuca, Mansfield, Seymour, Shepparton, Wangaratta
  • Outreach: Bright, Beechworth, Kyabram, Myrtleford, Yarrawonga, Mt Beauty

And some highlights

  • Worktrainers were the proud winners of the  Shepparton Business Achievement Awards in 2001.
  • The Job Network Employment Services Contract 3 saw Worktrainers gaining additional business in Kiewa (Wodonga) with full time office opening in 2003 to service jobseekers in this area.
  • In 2002 Worktrainers were the first in Victoria and second in Australia to be certified to the newly established National Disability Service Standards.
  • GAME expanded services into the Albury Wodonga area in 2003.  New depot established in Wodonga.
  • A National Harvest Labour Office Contract awarded to Worktrainers in Shepparton in 2003.
  • In 2003 launched an initiative between Rumbalara and Worktrainers in 2003 to secure 100 jobs for indigenous people in the area – achieve 96% success rate.
  • Worktrainers achieved  ISO 9001:2000 Certification in 2004.
  • Goulburn Valley based Harvest Labour Office was most successful in Australia for number of placements and ‘NIL’ official complaints according to DEWR in 2004.

 

 

2005 -2010

 The Stats

  • Board Members over this period: K. Kilgour (Chair), A. Guest-Smith (Vice Chair), L.McKenzie, M. Hull, S. Rogers, T. Garrett, Christine Riches, A. Prentice, T. Davies
  • Turn over went from $6,655,999 (2006 – 2007) to $7,641,125 (2009 – 2010)
  • CEO: Jim O’Connor
  • Disability Employment Placements: 267 (2005 – 2006) and 334 (2009 – 2010)
  • Job Network Placements: 1,575 (2005 – 2006) and 667 (2009 – 2010)
  • Harvest Labour Placements: 2,907 (2006 – 2007)
  • Worktrainers have full-time offices in Benalla, Bendigo, Bright, Castlemaine, Cobram, Echuca, Mansfield, Myrtleford,Seymour, Shepparton, Wangaratta, Wodonga and Yarrawonga.  Outreach services in Beechworth, Kyabram and  Rutherglen
  • GAME have depots in Shepparton, Wangaratta and Wodonga

And some highlights

  • Ganbina celebrated 10 years and Jim O’Connor recognised for his contribution to their success (2006 – 2007)
  • Bin Cleaning Service commenced in Echuca (2006 – 2007)
  • Mi Work commenced in Shepparton (2006 – 2007)
  • AusTravel jobs became second business arm of organisation and later becomes ATJ Recruitment (2006 – 2007)
  • Won business in Bendigo and Castlemaine to deliver Disability Employment Network to 120 clients (2007 – 2008)
  • Traffic Management Business commences in GAME Shepparton (2007 – 2008)
  • GAME enters into joint venture between Sustainability Victoria & City of Wodonga to run Recovery GAME on site at the Wodonga Transfer Station in new purpose built shed on site (2007 – 2008)
  • Successful Job Service Australia (JSA) tender – successor to Job Network. Sees overall increase in quantum of business but closure of sites at Benalla, Bright, Cobram, Mansfield, Myrtleford and visited sites at Beechworth and Rutherglen at end of financial year (2008 – 2009)
  • Karen Kilgour 10 years’ service to the Board (2009 – 2010)
  • Worktrainers celebrated 20 years (2009 – 2010)
  • ATJ Recruitment changes name to Recruitment Select (2009 – 2010)
  • The Workgroup was registered to brand a connector for Worktrainers, GAME and Recruitment Select (2009 – 2010)
  • G.A.M.E – Goulburn and Murray Enterprises renamed GAME Traffic & Contracting (2009 – 2010)
  • Re-branding of the whole organisation (2009 – 2010)
  • November 2009 we became new owners of the site at 98 Drummond Road

 

 

 2010-2015

The Stats

  • Board Members over this period: K. Kilgour (Chair 2010 – 2011), A. Guest-Smith (Vice Chair 2010 – 2015), A. Talbot, A. Prentice, C. Riches, T. Davies (Chair 2011 – 2015),Garrett, C. Johnson, P. Rogers, K. Favaloro
  • Turnover grew from $10,542,873 (2010 – 2011) to $12,330,344 (2014 – 2015)
  • CEO: Jim O’Connor (2010-2013) Craig Marshall (2013-2015)
  • Disability Employment Placements: 418 (2010 – 2011) and 252 (2014 – 2015)
  • Job Services Australia Placements: 777 (2010 – 2011)
  • Specialised Employment Programs: 130 (2014 – 2015)
  • GAME Traffic & Contracting Employed: 104 people, equating to 38,955 paid hours (2010 – 2011) and 164 people equating to 93,013 paid hours (2014 – 2015)
  • Recruitment Select Employed: 416 people – 126,812 paid hours (2010 – 2011) and 329 people -115,746 paid hours (2014 – 2015).
  • Worktrainers has full-time offices in  Albury, Bendigo, Castlemaine, Echuca, Seymour, Shepparton and Wangaratta and offers outreach services in  Benalla, Kyabram, Rochester, Wallan and  Wodonga.
  • GAME Traffic & Contracting has depots in  Bendigo, Shepparton, Wangaratta and Wodonga.
  • Recruitment Select has offices in Shepparton and  Wangaratta.

And some highlights

  • GAME adds Temporary Fencing to a growing list of Business 2 Business services offered in 2010
  • Geared 4 Careers commences in Wangaratta in 2010, Shepparton in 2012 and in Wodonga 2015.
  • GAME Traffic & Contracting opens a depot in Bendigo in  2012 after securing Gardening contracts with the Office of Housing.
  • The Workgroup moves to its new corporate headquarters at 98 Drummond Road in 2011.
  • MiWork starts working with clients in Seymour in 2011 and Connect 2 Work commences in Shepparton in 2012.
  • GAME was selected as a finalist in the medium/large category of the Australian Social Enterprise Awards in 2012 and 2013.
  • In 2013 Jim O’Connor retires after 17 years as CEO.
  • New DES contract for 2013 – 2018 secured in Goulburn Valley, Ovens and Kiewa
  • GAME wins a major contract to supply traffic management services to Powercor from 2015-2017.