Australia’s newest disability employment services provider has launched with 40 per cent of its board and frontline staff sharing the experiences of the people they support.

uLaunch, a member of the Angus Knight Group, is an amalgamation of Jobfind and JobLife, with 109 staff in 78 locations, that will support approximately 4,000 participants in capital cities and major regional centres nationally per year.

uLaunch is chaired by Professor Peter Shergold, former Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. “It’s an honour to be working alongside such a committed group of leaders, who combine unmatched experience with the right support,” Shergold said.

Also on the board, is occupational therapist and Paralympian Dr Lisa Chaffey and University of Queensland Law School associate professor Dr Paul Harpur.

“We have listened across every aspect of the sector in forming uLaunch,” Chaffey said. This included government, staff from different organisations, employers and participants, “who need more than just being placed in a job.”

According to Paul Harpur it is not possible to design pathways to long-term sustained career outcomes for people with disability if you have no experience living with disability. “That’s one of the key reasons I accepted the offer to join this unique company,” he said.

uLaunch chief executive officer Karena Newland said focus will be on supporting the overall health and wellbeing of participants. “We have funded 60 career counselling sessions, listened to what was needed, and responded with action,” she said. “The Commonwealth Government is our main partner in supporting people with a disability find the right job for everyone based on their specific needs.”

Photo: Dr Paul Harpur