By Luke Voogt
About 100 ex-Ford employees continue their search for work seven months after the manufacturer closed its Geelong plant, according to Auto Skills Australia (ASA).
But 80 per cent of 551 workers who left the company had “transitioned into an outcome of their desire”, ANA’s Vinca Panozzo said.
“We’re certainly well over the expected national industry standard.”
The 80 per cent had either found alternative employment or retired, Mr Panozzo said.
The ex-workers had embraced a variety jobs including soft tissue massage, visual arts and photography, he said.
“We’ve even got a person in Broad Meadows who’s now a wedding singer.”
Mr Panozzo described the result as “fantastic” and possibly a national benchmark.
Similar programs after Mitsubishi closed its Adelaide plant recorded 30 per cent of ex-workers reaching desired outcomes, he said.
The Federal Government funded the ASA through the Ford Transition Program three years ago.
The program ended on 30 April with 20 per cent of ex-employees from the company’s Geelong and Broadmeadows factories yet to find work.
“We haven’t abandoned them,” Mr Panozzo said.
“They’re still being connected through the ASA Facebook page.”
“Relevant unions” had selected three specialised job agencies to find work for the remaining workers, Mr Panozzo said.
ASA’s health and wellbeing program had helped ensure no reported instances of self-harm among former Ford workers, he said.
Mr Panozzo praised Geelong jobs advisor Bob Hope, who co-ordinated efforts to find work for Geelong’s former Ford workers.
“I’m very proud of my team,” Mr Hope said.
Geelong ex-Ford employees had a “robust and positive attitude” when looking for new work, he said.
“Out of the individuals I’ve worked with there’s a huge range of talent and they’ve really applied themselves.”