about us

Our History

Essential Personnel was established in the Illawarra region by the Commonwealth Government in 1986, and commenced as a regional service specifically to assist people with intellectual disabilities. It was one of the first CETPs (Competitive Employment Training and Placement Program) in Australia. With the injection of State funds in 1990, the agency commenced offering a service to jobseekers with other disabilities. The funding of two specialist programs for deaf/hearing impaired clients and for people with acquired brain damage followed soon after. In 1995, additional funding was received for a high support needs program at Wollongong.

Funding was also received for two (2) pilot programs specifically Job Placement Program (National) (1995 - 1996) and Employment Skills Development Program (State) (1995 - 1997). Regional offices in the Shoalhaven and the Southern Highlands were established in 1990-1991. A further regional office was established in Goulburn in late 1994.

From the 1 July 2005 EP’s open employment program moved from being funded by the Department of Family and Community Services to the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) entitled Disability Employment Network (DEN). In 2002 EP was successful in gaining DADHC funding in 2002 for the ATLAS Program for 2002 school leavers which was named ‘The Fresh Project’. The ATLAS funding was separated into two programs entitled the Community Participation Program (CP) and the Transition to Work Program (TTW). Essential Personnel was also successful in gaining a Mature Workers Program funded by the Department of Education and Training (DET) in September 2002 ceasing on 30 September 2004. 

In 2012 Essential Employment and Training (EET) was established as a company limited by guarantee, to eventually replace Essential Personnel Ass. Inc.
At present the two legal entities are both operating, as we are gradually progressing towards the total transfer of all programs and funds from EP to EET.
Our services have expanded over the years, and now cater for a diverse range of clients' with disabilities operating across the geographical areas for which we are funded. 

EET's operations now include a variety community services that work in concert with our primary purpose, these include our award winning Youth Employment Program, Individual Funding packages (or Self managed Funding) and two (2) social enterprises in the Shoalhaven; Refresh Community & Training Café (est. 2008) and The Farmers Market (est. 2012). Both of these enterprises aim to boost social engagement and develop hospitality, vocational, and social skills for people with disability through work experience & on the job training. EET has also expanded greatly during this time with 60+ staff offering a suite of services throughout the Illawarra, Shoalhaven, Southern Highlands & Southern Tablelands.