ACombined figure, FY 2016 & 2017 BFY2017 figure
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5,203LTU job seekers in
work for over
* FY2016&17 combined total
** jobactive performance report June 2017
As one of the Government's approved providers of jobactive services, CoAct and its Service Partners are committed to delivering high quality, personalised employment services. We pay particular attention to job seekers with significant barriers to employment, who are often the hardest to place.
CoAct has performed above the national average for placements of long-term unemployed (LTU) job seekers. By assisting the long-term disadvantaged into employment, and helping them stay there, we are not only transforming their lives, but also the lives of their families and those in their community.
Why Help the Long-Term Unemployed?
People who have been unemployed for 12 months or more face considerable challenges, socially, financially and also in terms of their health. Long-term unemployment is associated with poor physical and mental health, social isolation and poverty. Workers who remain outside the workforce for some time find it much harder to re-enter - their skills lose currency and employers tend to screen them out in favour of people with more recent experience1.
Long-term unemployment also causes significant mental and material stress for those affected and their families. People who are unemployed for long periods tend to have children with worse academic performance than similar workers who avoided unemployment. And communities with a large number of long-term unemployed workers also tend to have high rates of crime and violence.
For the long-term unemployed, or those who have dropped out of the workforce due to significant barriers, adjusting to the routine of gainful employment is a challenge. According to figures from the Department of Employment, less than a third of the most difficult to place job seekers usually remain in work beyond three months2. Which is why our work does not finish once a job seeker is placed with an employer. We continue to engage regularly with both the former job seeker and the employer to ensure the role remains a good fit for all involved.
One of the key initiatives CoAct and its Service Partners have implemented to help job seekers remain on the path to sustainable employment is dedicated post-placement support.
This engagement can include:
2. Source: Department of Employment: Employment Services Outcomes Report - October 2015 - September 2016 Skills Training
When job seeker Lee* sought out the services of CoAct Service Partner, MTC Australia, he had been unemployed since 2010. A mature-aged job seeker, Lee had gained some work experience in warehousing and factories, but due to his current level of physical fitness, he found it very difficult to secure work in this sector. His limited English language skills were also a barrier to him gaining employment and learning new skills that might lead to a job, such as a forklift license.
One thing that was not holding Lee back was his enthusiasm; he was extremely keen to learn and to obtain a job.
As part of MTC's Work for the Dole program, Lee gained computer literacy, customer service skills and techniques to help him participate in group communication. The training took place in a worklike environment, which helped him to build his confidence and become more familiar with the types of tasks he might encounter in an office or service environment. He also worked on updating his resume, learnt how to actively search for jobs that matched his skills, and also took part in mock interviews.
With his new skills and increased confidence, Lee was placed into full-time employment at a factory in Marrickville. He is happy to report that he loves going to work each day, and is enjoying his newfound confidence and financial freedom.
*Name has been changed to protect customer privacy
placed in jobs*
with CoAct DES Service
support for people
with a disability **
* FY2016&2017 combined total
For people with a disability, regular, sustained employment can provide independence, a sense of purpose and connection to community.
Unfortunately, people with a disability are far less likely to participate in mainstream employment than other Australians. Labour force participation rates released in 2015 showed that 56.6% of men and 49% of women with a disability aged 15 -64 years were employed in the open market, compared to rates of 88.5% (men) and 76.5% (women) for the rest of the population1.
Since 2015, the Government has been working with stakeholders in the disability employment sector to redesign employment services, with the aim of getting more people with a disability into work. The new Disability Employment Services (DES) program will take effect from 1 July 2018.
CoAct has been an active stakeholder in this process, while also revisiting our own network delivery model to meet the requirements of the proposed framework. Significant work has been, and continues to be, undertaken to prepare our Service Partners for the new program, including research into the needs of job seekers with a disability, training programs for frontline staff and improvements to our service delivery model to remain competitive in an expanded market.
1. Source: ABS, Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery, Sept 2015
Innovating for the Future
CoAct and its Service Partners are constantly looking for more effective ways to help people benefit from sustainable employment. One of the ways we look to innovate is by running pilot programs to test new ways to engage with and support job seekers.
CoAct recently launched the Embark Program, a pilot initiative aimed at helping people with a disability transition from supported employment into open employment.
Supported employment is typically provided by Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs). They are not-for-profit organisations that provide meaningful employment for people with a disability, in a high-care environment. But with the National Disability Service estimating that there could be as many as 200,000 Australians with a disability who are not working now, but want to work and could do so if they had the right assistance, it is important to look for new ways to help more people transition into the open employment market.
In partnership with two of our Service Partners, Workways and Community Solutions, and two ADEs, Endeavour and Koomarri, we have developed a program which allows ADE participants to explore open employment in a supportive environment. Over the past six months, intensive collaboration between CoAct, our Service Partners and ADEs has shaped a framework for the program, giving everyone a chance to put forward their views.
Now, the Embark Program has been rolled out in the ACT and Queensland, with 20 ADE participants enrolling to take part. Their progress into the open market will be monitored closely, with ongoing support provided to participants, their families and carers. If the pilot is successful, the model will be rolled out across the CoAct network.
Darcy, a former Emerald State High School student, had been unemployed for six months when he came to see CoAct Service Partner BUSY At Work's Emerald team. Darcy was keen to obtain a labourer's position that might ultimately lead to him gaining an apprenticeship as a diesel fitter, so he began working with BUSY At Work Emerald's Employment Services Site Manager, Nadine Payne.
Together, they managed to secure Darcy a position as a trades assistant with local business, Longwall Chains Australia.
BUSY At Work provided full pre- and postplacement support to Darcy, including assistance with training and working with him to build up his communication skills. Nadine also worked with Longwall Chains' Workshop Coordinator, Peter Gibbs, to ensure Darcy was a good fit for the business and could continue to remain in employment.
Darcy's role involved cleaning, repairing and rust proofing conveyor chains used in coal mining. Peter reported that Darcy fitted in extremely well with the team and worked hard to keep improving.
Now that Darcy has settled well into his role, Nadine said Longwall Chains Australia are keen to offer Darcy a diesel fitting apprenticeship.
"We are currently working with our Disability Employment Services (DES) and Australian Apprenticeship Services Network (AASN) staff in negotiating this apprenticeship opportunity for Darcy.
"We have also organised for Registered Training Organisation (RTO), Axial Training, to provide more intense support for Darcy and this has seen him recently complete his Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) assessment. We are delighted that Darcy will be signed up to an apprenticeship in the very near future," Nadine says.
BUSY At Work CEO, Paul Miles, said: "This is a perfect example of BUSY At Work working collaboratively and holistically in utilising services through our jobactive Employment Services, DES and AASN contracts to achieve a common goal."
In 2015, BUSY At Work and CoAct entered into a partnership to deliver the Government's Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) services to employers and job seekers in Western Australia.
After achieving early success, the partners decided to rebrand their offering, and in March 2016 The Apprenticeship Community was launched. The Apprenticeship Community brings together the employment services experience of CoAct and the apprenticeship experience of BUSY At Work under a single, community-focused banner.
"We wanted to help employers and apprentices and trainees in Western Australia understand exactly what we do, and to reflect our local expertise," explained Jo Eagle, State Manager of The Apprenticeship Community. "It was important that the unified brand represented our tailored approach to AASN services, which is all about connecting the right person to the right apprenticeship with the right employer."
As part of the launch of The Apprenticeship Community brand, the team created a new website, a suite of new marketing material and new signage for the WA-wide sites. The team also undertook sales training, to increase the focus on generating new business and building relationships with key stakeholders.
- above national
to find new careers*
* In conjunction with Department
of Education and Training
A key reason for CoAct entering into a partnership with BUSY At Work to create The Apprenticeship Community was to build up employer relationships in the area. Here are some of our WA employer partners talking about working with The Apprenticeship Community.
After finishing high school, Crystal completed her Certificate II in Engineering. Excited about a career as a Fitter and Machinist, Crystal's next step was to obtain an apprenticeship to secure her trade certificate.
She started applying for apprenticeships in her local area, noting that there were many candidates vying for the same roles, almost all of them male. After a number of knockbacks, Crystal began to realise she was in the minority. In fact, one employer told her straight out that females did not belong in this type of trade.
Undeterred, Crystal kept trying, and after four months she gained an opportunity with Mangelsdorf Engineering, under workshop manager, Tom Briggs. So far, things are going really well for Crystal. Tom says she is making great progress, is a proactive employee and is getting along well with the rest of the team.
Being a woman in a male dominated industry can bring its own challenges, so Crystal has been assigned a personal Apprenticeship Community Mentor, who regularly checks on her progress and is on hand to handle any issues that may arise during her apprenticeship.
Crystal's aim is to complete her trade certificate within the next three years. And both Crystal and Mangelsdorf are really happy to have one central point of contact in The Apprenticeship Community for anything that comes up along the way, be it funding, training or mentoring.
In February 2016, the Federal Government introduced a new program designed to help early school leavers on their journey toward long-term employment. The Transition to Work (TtW) program provides intensive, pre-employment support to improve the work-readiness of young people and help them into work (including apprenticeships and traineeships) or education.
The three CoAct youth specialists that have been delivering TtW since the program was introduced are:
As three of only a small number of organisations chosen to deliver the TtW program, CoAct's Service Partners are using their extensive expertise and network of trusted community members to connect disengaged and disadvantaged youth with training and support services.
All our sites are performing on or above the national average for this contract, and are exceeding all targets set by the Department. Our programs have been particularly successful with early school leavers, that is, young people who exit the school system before completing Year 12.
placed in jobs*
* since program inception
** since April 2017
As well as being early school leavers, many of the TtW participants require specialist support on their journey towards employment. Here is a snapshot of areas in which CoAct's Service Partners provide specialist support.
Early school leavers are at much greater risk for remaining unemployed in the longer term, earning considerably lower wages when they are employed, and are likely to struggle to accumulate wealth over their life span. Long-term unemployment can lead to many other risk factors for young people, including:
The TtW program is particularly valuable in regions where youth unemployment is extremely high, such as Wide Bay, where IMPACT Community Services operates. "There's a strong focus on practical intervention and work experience, which helps build each person's individual skills, confidence and readiness to engage in employment," says IMPACT Chief Executive, Tanya O'Shea.
Students exit the secondary school system for a variety of reasons. According to a recent study of Queensland early school leavers2, while the majority of boys left to get a job or apprenticeship (30%), one in five said they left because they didn't like the school. For girls, a dislike for the school was the highest motivator for leaving (19.6%). The second most common reason girls stated for dropping out was because the behaviour of other students disrupted their study (14.8%).
What this shows is that not only do emotional factors play a role in the motivation behind a child wanting to leave school, they also need to be addressed in order for the school leaver to move forward. Melanie Raymond, Chairman of Youth Projects (delivering TtW in NW Melbourne), explains:
"Our first step is to identify and work on many pre-vocational issues facing young job seekers. This allows us to confront some of the most significant barriers to successful job search: self-confidence, self-esteem, isolation and communication skills."
Unfortunately, employers are sometimes reluctant to employ young people with little or no work experience, because they view them as a risk. This is where having the support of a specialist employment services organisation can help.
"We don't just form strong relationships with job seekers, we also work with local businesses to identify their staffing needs, and provide solutions they may not have previously considered," says The Personnel Group's CEO, Tracey Fraser (providing TtW services in Goulburn/Murray and Murray Riverina regions).
1 Australian Institute of Family Studie, Family Factors in Early School Leaving 2013. https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/family-factors-early-school-leaving
2 Qld Department of Education, Early School Leavers Queensland Report 2014. http://education.qld.gov.au/earlyleavers/pdfs/2014pdfs/chapter12014.pdf
One in two Australian workers will experience workplace bullying at some point in their career. And young people are more at risk, with 40% of people who have experienced workplace bullying saying it occurred in the early stages of their working life1. Bullying can make people feel less confident and uncomfortable at work, and can lead to serious mental health issues, like anxiety and depression.
Taylor was one of the unlucky ones, becoming a victim of workplace bullying in one of her first jobs out of school. She experienced significant and sustained bullying, and with no support from her employer, Taylor's confidence plummeted. Taylor quit the job, but the prolonged bullying had left her with anxiety and depression. Hoping to turn her fortunes around, Taylor approached The Personnel Group and enrolled in their Transition to Work program.
Working with her dedicated case manager, Ben, Taylor identified an interest in administrative work. While she had limited practical experience in this area, Taylor displayed excellent organisation and time management skills and a strong work ethic. Ben recommended Taylor enrol in a Certificate III in Business Administration at the local TAFE to develop her professional skill-set.
But it wasn't just job skills that Taylor needed help with. The biggest barrier to gaining employment was Taylor's diminished confidence and mental health concerns. Ben worked closely and consistently with Taylor to overcome these issues, focusing on building her resilience and selfassurance. Ben also supported Taylor to obtain her driver's license, enabling her to apply for a wider range of jobs.
Thanks to the support she has received from Ben and The Personnel Group team, Taylor's anxiety and depression symptoms have lessened and she has shown a marked improvement in confidence. Through her study, she has learnt and subsequently demonstrated higher-level administrative skills, and she is engaging more positively with her peers every day.
Taylor's professional goal is to obtain sustained employment in an administrative environment, where she can put her organisational skills and passion to good use.
Throughout 2016 and 2017, CoAct has continued to partner with passionate host organisations to deliver Green Army projects across Australia. The Green Army is a hands-on environmental action program that supports local environment and heritage conservation projects by engaging young people interested in practical environmental-based training and experience.
Groups of 17-24 year olds work in teams of nine on a huge variety of projects, which run for around six months each. The projects include everything from cultural heritage conservation, environmental value conservation and restoration, propagation and planting of native seedlings to foreshore and beach restoration.
The participants get paid an allowance and all their clothing and safety gear is provided. But most importantly, they get valuable work experience and accredited training in Conservation and Land Management that can set them on a fantastic career path.
The Green Army has had particular success within Indigenous communities, where young Aboriginal Australians are too often locked into a welfare cycle. The Green Army gives these young people an opportunity to experience work-like conditions, gain work-ready skills and to engage with the wider community.
Sadly, the Government has decided to close down the Green Army program, with all projects to be completed by 30 June 2018. Until that time, CoAct and its partners will continue to work within local communities to deliver the previously approved Green Army projects.
650participants across Australia *
* In FY2017
CoAct's Green Army teams have been making a real difference to our environment. The following is a sample of the different types of conservation activities that have been undertaken.
CoAct's FY2017 Green Army projects have been undertaken in a wide variety of environments across four states:
Mamabulanjin Aboriginal Corporation is one of CoAct's busiest Green Army project hosts, operating in the north of WA. We asked Operations Manager, Matt Wagner, a few questions about the impact Green Army is having on the environment and local community"
As a conservation, land management and horticultural organisation the Green Army fitted in easily with what we were already doing. When we spoke with Fiona, one of CoAct's Green Army coordinators, she thought that there was plenty of opportunity on the ground here. And with the amount of weeds encroaching on everything, having more hands come in makes a real difference!
But I guess one of the major reasons why we wanted to use the Green Army program was because we wanted to help the young people in the area. The youth here are mostly Indigenous Australians, and many have a criminal record or interaction with the justice system, or come from lower socio-economic backgrounds. The Green Army gives them some really valuable experience in a work-like environment, and helps them see a way towards moving into work and careers.
The environment is obviously benefitting from these projects, but it's the local community where I feel we're getting the most out of the Green Army. We've got these young people engaged, which ultimately makes them better community members. They're expected to show up 30 hours a week, and pretty much all of them do. We've been getting around an 85% completion rate, which is practically unheard of up here. We're really proud of that. I think we've been successful because the type of work we offer suits young people, and because everyone is treated as family. We've kept a lot out of the justice system, where they would have ended up with nothing else to do.
Our organisation runs day and night patrols, so we see first-hand the harm that is caused to the community by those that are welfare-dependent. This gets them off welfare, and gives them a qualification. Obviously not all the participants will go onto work in specific, environmental roles, but the skills and the knowledge they get are a real benefit for all kinds of work.