Worklink Employment Support Group Inc. (Worklink) is a diverse organisation that provides employment assistance, psychological, counselling and professional support to people with a mental health condition and other disadvantaged groups in the community. In addition Worklink provides educational programs to employers and the general public.
Worklink is a non-profit organisation, funded by the Australian Government, and administered by a voluntary board. Founded in 1996 with a staff of two, Worklink has now grown to a staff of 19, reflecting the ever increasing need for its services in the Cairns Employment Services Area (ESA).
Worklink’s head office is in Cairns and covers the Cairns ESA South to Cardwell, North to Mossman, West to Atherton and East to Yarrabah.
Worklink is currently contracted by the Federal Government to deliver the Disability Employment Service (DES).
Through its Disability Employment program Worklink provides a vital link between people with mental health conditions and employers. Its core aim is to help people find a job or maintain their current role, but it also offers a professional placement service for companies who are willing to employ people with mental health conditions, or who simply need help in managing existing issues at work. As importantly, and depending on how much assistance is required, it provides on-going moral support and one-on-one mentoring for its clients to ensure the best possible outcomes for both the employee and employer.
Worklink has continuously sought out other programs and opportunities to improve and expand services to people with a psychiatric disability/mental illness in the Cairns ESA.
In 2003, after many years of lobbying various government departments, Worklink finally secured funding to deliver its own training package "Managing Diversity- Mental Health in the Workplace".
In September 2009 Worklink established the Psychological, Counselling and Professional Support Service, which is provided on a fee for service basis to Job Service Australia Providers and the Job Capacity Assessors. This service provides psychological intervention, counselling and professional support to assist jobseekers who have multiple non vocational barriers to work, which are preventing them from engaging personally, socially and economically in the community.
In March 2010 Worklink successfully secured funding from the Commonwealth Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) to deliver the Personal Helpers and Mentors Program in Yarrabah. This program promotes spiritual, cultural, mental and physical healing for Indigenous Australians living with mental illness. The program uses a strengths based-recovery focussed approach to supporting people with a severe functional limitation resulting from a mental illness.
In 2011 Worklink, in partnership with Centacare and Aftercare explored the option of establishing a social enterprise. We soon came to realise that to develop such a venture was beyond the capacity of each of the individual entities, but together, with the assistance of Social Ventures Australia (SVA), we had the combined history, expertise and resources to create a new and exciting social enterprise in Cairns with the primary purpose of creating employment opportunities for people affected by a mental illness, and other marginalised sectors of the workforce. Together we formed a consortium, under the framework of a Memorandum of Understanding and formation of a Steering Group, to establish and develop the new enterprise, with the focus on commercial cleaning as this represents tangible employment opportunities for a less skilled workforce - whose members face a number of barriers to work. And so the concept of Clean Care Cairns was born. Clean Care Cairns will initially be auspiced as a business division of Worklink whilst progressing towards becoming a company limited by guarantee.
Worklink’s vision is that people who experience mental health issues have the opportunity for employment, improved economic and social well being and acceptance in the community.
To facilitate improved employment opportunities and related economic and social outcomes for people with mental health issues in the community.