Wednesday September 1st 2010 marks 20 years in my present job.
Twenty years now,
Where’d they go?
Twenty years now,
I don’t know,
I sit and I wonder sometimes,
Where they’ve gone
Wow! – Bob was right - where did they go?
There have been so many changes and so much has been achieved it’s difficult to remember how things were in 1990.
Here’s a few:
No Disability Support Pension – the applicable payment back then was referred to as the “Invalid Pension”. Just to help you understand the stigma this cast on recipients try highlighting ‘invalid’ and check the synonyms: worthless, null or void.
The CES (Commonwealth Employment Service) staff was not allowed to assist Invalid Pension recipients to get a job.
The present supported wage system in place today has replaced the 1990’s ‘Slow Workers Permit’ – a system that provided a minimum (I think it was $40) payment to be made instead of the independently monitored and administered system in place today.
No guidebooks, no training, no place to turn accept other equally inexperienced albeit well meaning beginners. We all looked to the United States as the Mecca of supported employment and gobbled up whatever crumbs we could find.
These days Australian programs are as good as or better than those found anywhere in the world.
No internet – thank heavens, no blasted ‘Seek’!
No (or at least very few) mobile phones.
NOVA’s initial inventory:
1 x 3 legged stool
1 x K-Mart typists chair
2 x broken desks (no drawers)
1 x home phone
1 x 3 draw filing cabinet
1 x Yellow Pages
I drove a Toyota Hiace van that regularly suffered from its equivalent of panic attacks (side of the road, trembling).
For myself I had a burning desire to ‘make a difference’ although for the life of me I was uncertain how that might best be accomplished. I read everything I could gather from teachers, libraries and through the embryonic network of other service providers. I was significantly assisted by their generosity and the help of the late Pamela Dennis (METS) was particularly valued.
Our single office has grown to 26 and many thousands of young men and women have subsequently trusted their career goals to me and to my staff (now close to 200 people). Along the way we’ve stuck to the knitting and only get involved in programs and projects that are directly related to the employment of people with a disability.
This has been a great journey and every year has helped me learn and grow.
To the thousands of job seekers and workers that have joined us and to the hundreds of colleagues that have encouraged and inspired me, to those who have helped me stay on the right track and helped me see where I could improve and how NOVA could develop:
Thank you all so very, very much.
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Attended the Disability Employment Australia (DEA) forum in Canberra. THis is a regular get together that offers disability employment services tha chance to be kept up to date from our funding body and also listed to expert speakers on topics associated with the goal of seeing as many people as possible find and keep suitable employment....
NOVAs greatest asset is its staff. I suspect you would struggle to find the CEO of any organisation state their staff are not vital and at the core of business reputation and results....
A corner turned?
We are presently holding events to promote employment for people with disability - nor surprise there, that's our job.
What has been a surprise is the willingness of employers to come along and listen and more importantly, to consider adopting inclusive employment practices across their organisations....
Say No to Quotas!
The pernicious idea that 'quota's' might be the solution for disability employment continue:
Faced with the daunting task of improving the number of employment outcomes with out sacrificing the quality of service delivered to people with disability how have we fared (sort of Year in Review II)?
The number of placements made has seriously improved - up 31% in 2015 and a further 14% in 2016, NOVA operates at at rate of placement better than 150% over 2014!
Whats really exciting is that this has been achieved without compromising on the level of disability that can be supported by NOVA's teams (if anything this has risen)....
Famous last words!
O.K. - sorry that you need to cut and paste: http://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace-relations/100-million-payday-for-1anhour-staff-with-disabilities-20161216-gtcius....
Not sure if this will be my last blog post for 2016 but just in case, a quick look back at 2016:
Best ever year for total number of placements
Best ever year for long term employment outcomes
Best ever year for Apprenticeships and Traineeships
Best ever year for Transition to Work outcomes
Best ever year for media coverage
Best ever year for 'Focusonability'
Best ever year for Transition to Work (TTW)
How about 2017?
Looking good, so stay in touch and have a terrific holiday, be safe and hopefully Santa will bring you all that you wish for....
Choice is only of value when it's informed (written about this here previously)
I have the numbers for disability employment services (DES-ESS) up till 30th June this year and I am delighted to see that NOVA is responsible for almost 25% of all employment lasting 6 months or more (28 providers) and almost as many as next 2 providers combined....
The NDIS held out hope and promise to people with a disability, the opportunity to exercise choice and control and was heralded as the answer to the prayers of our most disadvantaged and vulnerable citizens....
Latest 'Stars' The effectiveness of Australian Disability Employment Services is recognised through a system called the 'Star Ratings'.
6 years ago NOVA was amongst the lower performing providers in Sydney, at least as measured through the Star's,
Regular readers will be aware of my unhappiness with things that I think are important to people with disability - stuff like, wages earned, hours worked etc....
Best Show on TV Morning All
Sorry you need to cut and paste: http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/802326595536/focus-on-ability-film-festival-2016
Best show on TV - bar none and, if you want to skip my bit I get off at 3:10 and you can get straight to some of the truly terrific films from this year's "Focusonability" short film festival....
Reform There is a review of Disability Employment Services and presently consideration is being given to what might best replace the current program.
NOVA needs you - come and join us
NOVA needs You!!
Wednesday 2nd November
Short notice (so really appreciate sharing) and we are holding an information session for potential new workers in a variety of roles within NOVA....
Yet again! Somewhere there is a definition of lunacy that runs along the lines of 'lunacy is when you do something the same way and expect a different result'
Today some of Australia's disability employment services will learn whether they will be allowed to continue to deliver their programs or whether they are to be replaced....
According to today's radio around 3 million Australians are living in poverty. The majority rely upon Centrelink (Australia's welfare services hub) to provide the majority of their income although many are also in small hour part time work....
Congratulations to my team for their terrific results for September, a month in which the NOVA staff placed more people into open employment - thats a job just like yours and mine - than at any previous period in our 27 year history
What an exciting time to be working in Disability Employment Services!
Demand exceeds supply (we are advertising for job seekers) and more and more smart business owners are seeing the value of people with disability as a routine part of their hiring decisions and processes....
Choice & Control 2 After the best part of thirty years it shouldn't be necessary to make a case that disability employment is different from mainstream employment, not in the desired outcome (we both make taxpayers), but in the process....
Transition to Work outcomes for the 2012 school leavers in the Nepean Blue Mountains district are available here:
Normally, supply (people with a disability) outstrips demand (employers who want to hire)
Not so for the Hawkesbury - north west Sydney - area where demand from employers is outstripping supply....