Local Charity appoints former Rockingham boy Chairman of the Board: Bridging The Gap

Employment, career development and training services

Les Hayward
Long-standing board member appointed to the role of Chair

Local Not for Profit and Charity , Bridging the Gap, who has a 30-year history of assisting local Rockingham / Kwinana / Mandurah residents develop job ready skills and achieve employment, has appointed former local Rockingham man, Les Hayward as the new Chair of the Board.  

Les was Vice Chair for the previous 12 months and has been a board member for over four years.  “I am humbled and thrilled to be stepping into the role of Chair of BTG”, said Les.  “I truly believe the work that the team at Bridging The Gap does in our local community is vital to addressing the underlying reasons for long term welfare dependency and unemployment in our community, and plays a key role assisting our clients to prepare for re-entering the workforce.

“I’m so proud to be leading an organisation with such a rich history of positive outcomes  for people in our local community”, Les said.

Les takes over from Wayne Milnes, who remains on the Board as a Director, and will  continue to play an active role in the future direction of the organisation. 

Les attended Star of the Sea primary school in Rockingham and CBC in Fremantle before enlisting in the Australian Army and attending (ADFA) The Australia Defence Force Academy in Canberra, where he completed a BA in Political Science & International Relations. 

Les’s previous experience includes 30 years military, corporate and small business experience having worked in private & government sectors including Defence, Aviation, Mechanical Services, Security, Franchising and Finance, including 15 years in CEO & executive leadership roles.  In 2009 Les commenced his own Financial Planning Business in Applecross.  Through this wealth of experience Les brings a strong track record in driving positive cultural change, delivering outcomes, improving governance systems, productivity and  business development.  Being a financial Adviser, Les also has a keen eye for financial governance and compliance.

“I am determined to see Bridging The Gap grow and flourish” he said. “We are keen to grow our programs to help more people overcome adversity and Bridge the Gap from welfare to employment, this is truly the only way that long term change can be sustained.

“However,” Les admits “this will be a challenge in the current climate, with government budgets tighter than ever, and a Federal Election looming,  we live in uncertain times.  With pressure on government finances from every possible angle, and the increase in cost of living pressures, many of our most vulnerable are under severe financial pressure and are doing it really tough.  As an organisation that is fundamentally dependent on Federal and State Government contracts to enable us to achieve these outcomes, we are not immune from this” he stated.

“However, our focus always has, and must remain, on making the most of what we have in order to best help and support the people who come to us for assistance, in order to give them the best chance possible to get a job, as this is the best way to support themselves, their families, and achieve a more secure future.”

Current and past Programs of BTG have included “Try test & learn, Career Readiness for Young Parents”, “Employability Skills Training”, “Work for the Dole”, “Green Army”, “Parents Next”, “Empowering Families”, “Job Active”,  and other outreach programs.  “Conservatively, we have helped over 20,000 local people into work with training and experience that is vital to obtain and retain a job” said Les, “a record of which we are immensely proud, and hope to continue “he said.

Les is also an active participant in the local business community, having recently stepped down as Vice President of the Local Rockingham Business Group, BNI.  He is Chair of the Elders Financial Planning National Adviser Board, and is happily married with two young children.

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