Mick White - Awarded September 2017
Mick White was the long-term CEO of Western District Employment Access (WDEA), only retiring last year after an incredible 27 years with the company.
WDEA first commenced in 1989 as a service to assist clients with a disability to enter the workforce. Starting with three employees, under Mick’s Leadership, WDEA initially operated out of a small office in Warrnambool, however soon extended its coverage to Colac, Portland and Hamilton. As demand continued to grow, the organisation expanded its operations and services to cover a broader cross-section of the community and region.
The organisation now operates across 11 major cities and towns and boasts 420 staff members, approximately 90 of whom have a disability, confirming Mr White’s ongoing promise to practice what he preaches.
Since 1989, WDEA has created many support programs to assist those living with disability. Programs such as the Socialisers, ArtLink, CareerLink and the growth of WDEA’s Charitable Trust have maintained WDEA’s commitment to assisting the most vulnerable members of our community.
While Mick’s strategic direction of WDEA led to its success, it was also during this time that the disability employment sector was enhanced through Mick’s involvement in ACE Victoria and then DEA at a Board level.
Mick is well respected by representatives of the Department, Government officials and Ministers past and present. He has always had the utmost respect and determination for people with a disability to be active members of an inclusive community. Words and phrases such as individualised service provision, choice and control and customised employment have been part of Mick’s vocabulary since the late 80s.