After more than three decades as WDEA Works, the disability employment organisation has changed its name to reflect its expanded operations and wider service areas.
WDEA Works relaunched as Are-able from October 7 across the three states it now operates in, including Queensland where it has just opened a Brisbane office, its first in a capital city.
Are-able employs 460 people at its offices in Victoria, South Australia and now Queensland with plans to expand into New South Wales and possibly Tasmania in the future.
Are-Able chief executive officer Tom Scarborough said the rebranding "marked a pivotal chapter" in the organisation's journey.
He said the new name also reflected a cultural change for the not-for-profit organisation which would "do more for more people in communities."
He said Are-able was looking to expand into other community services "either delivering ourselves or partnering with other local organisations who are willing to work with us to resolve an issue".
Mr Scarborough said while employment continued to be a "massive part" of the business it had an aspirational plan to meet community needs in other areas.
These areas could include mental health and wellbeing, specialist disability accommodation for young people, tackling homelessness and providing support for parents of children with a disability, who tended to be "forgotten".
"With our vision of inclusive thriving communities it's very much about listening to each community because each one has different needs," he said.
"Not saying we can solve them but we can work collaboratively and partner with people to be able to address what the community needs are, or contribute to it at least.
"We want to be more than just employment. We're looking at how we can be more to more people in more communities.
"The feedback we've had from communities, like here in Brisbane is we do it really well so why shouldn't we be doing it really well in other places? Because at the end it's the people that are getting the services that benefit."
He hoped residents would continue to embrace and support Are-able as they had WDEA Works, since it first opened as Western District Employment Access in 1989 with three staff members.
"We're the same organisation at the core," he said. "We've changed, we're very aspirational in our growth to do more for more people in more communities.
"The rebranding reflects how we are doing more to deliver greater impact, create opportunities for inclusiveness and drive positive change in communities across Australia. Together we are building communities that say yes, we are able."
He said it was the organisation's strong foundations that saw it flourish over the years but it needed a name to "help broaden its horizons and for people that identify with us beyond the Western Districts of Victoria".
"We're very proud of our history and very thankful to the people, Mick White and his staff, who founded WDEA Works in Warrnambool," he said.
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