OCTEC: Investment in People


Unemployment can be tough! Applying for countless positions but never making an interview, leaving messages that are never returned, feeling rejected and losing confidence…. For people with disability, these challenges can seem insurmountable.

Commencing more than forty years ago, OCTEC is a major not-for-profit provider of employment, vocational training, and youth services. At over 140 locations across metropolitan Melbourne, Geelong, South west and Northern Victoria, we provide individual training and employment opportunities, assist employers recruit and develop skilled workforces, and help communities become more sustainable.

Our services are for all people, regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, religious belief, marital status or disability. We have active partnerships with job seekers, training participants, disadvantaged or isolated community members, community services, government agencies and employers.

OCTEC is the largest not-for-profit DES provider in Australia, the Commonwealth Government’s specialised employment service, assisting people with disability, illness or health condition enter the open employment market. Currently, we’re assisting over 500 Victorian participants.

OCTEC’s DES services cater for people with all forms of disability, including muscular-skeletal disorders, limb deficiencies, sensory impairment, spinal disorders, traumatic brain injury, chronic/serious illness (including cancer), circulatory system disorders/illness and intellectual disability. Importantly, our teams also partner with people challenged by mental health. In 2017, over 40% of our DES participants had a primary disability that was mental health-related including anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia and other psychiatric conditions.

OCTEC invests in people – and this isn’t some marketing catchphrase. It’s a statement of fact. Across all programs and services, we implement positive, measurable strategies to assist participants overcome their individual barriers.


When each participant commences with OCTEC, they partner with a team member and, wherever possible, this relationship is maintained until the participant successfully completes the service, course or program. Our consultants are available for participants to contact whenever they need support, including via social media.

Partnering with employers

OCTEC works with thousands of employers – from multinationals to small businesses – to overcome the barriers and stereotypes often faced by people with disability. We invest in participants and their employers in practical ways. Through our unique Biz Support initiative, we provide financial and resource support to employers of our participants, with services such as mentoring, peer training, workplace modification and wage assistance.

In the last four years, OCTEC invested over $9 million in Biz Support funds. Each year we celebrate the champions of inclusive employment through our National Employer Awards. These employers work with us to recognise ability, giving people with disability the chance to develop new and exciting careers.

Overcoming multiple, complex barriers to employment

OCTEC works closely with providers of specialist services. Our National Community Network includes providers of services addressing a broad range of participant needs. Partnerships involve resource-sharing and referrals to services including culture and country for Indigenous and/or CALD participants, literacy and language training, domestic and family violence support, disability and mental health services – including via the NDIS.

Work cut out for us

People with disability continue to face major challenges when seeking employment. Mature age participants increasingly seek our services, many who’ve been forced to change careers as a result of acquired injury or disability. Our youth participants are often challenged by mental health issues, which leads to feelings of isolation. They may have experienced bullying and disconnected from education as a result. This leads to a lack of vital skills, qualifications and motivation to compete for employment, setting young people up for long term welfare dependence. Employees and employers are often reluctant to speak about disability, meaning unresolved issues can develop into major problems.

Our unique, people-centred approach allows us to address these and other service gaps. We’ve helped over 15,000 people with disability into new careers. We share expertise, resources and research information with our partners, enhancing the delivery of innovative and individualised services, as well as creating positive workplace health and wellbeing cultures for participants and their employers.

To find out more about OCTEC, visit our website or contact us by phone on 1800 258 182. If you’re looking for a Disability Employment Services (DES) provider, or would like to know more about OCTEC services, contact us on this link, complete a few details and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

Come see members of our team at the Melbourne Disability Expo, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre at 1 Convention Centre Pl, South Wharf VIC 3006 on Friday and Saturday, November 16 and 17, 9am-3pm.

Register HERE to attend the Melbourne Disability Expo, organised by Social Impact Institute, advancing the social impact of organisations and increasing access to the right products and services for people with disability.