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. It is my opinion that the key secret to success and growth is finding the right people followed up by a healthy investment in staff training.
Around 16 or 17 years ago with the assistance of the Regional Manager Racheal Neal, whose personal motto of just do it was never more valuable, NOVA created a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), NOVA Training.
We decided that all staff should receive formal training as a condition of employment and that commitment to at least a Cert IV level qualification remains a core condition of working with us.
The delivery of effective Disability Employment Services is not (I repeat!) generalist employment + bigger subsidies!
It is a shame on two levels to hear that being handed a phone and pointed at a computer constitutes is still sometimes deemed to be staff training and induction. First, this is a shame because people drawn to disability employment assistance frequently have the noblest motives and deserve good support and even more importantly (there should be a drum roll here). people with disability deserve to be assisted by well trained and resourced workers.
There is a critical need to either have or gain insight into the unique needs and, particularly in the search for long term job retention, the strengths and abilities of individual job seekers. Failure to invest in training staff that gives staff the skills to achieve this knowledge condemns the participant to repeated failure or consignment to the back burner when it comes to employment outcomes.
Training needs to include functionality of the present system (much as I rant against it staff must understand the requirements of the funding contract), disability specific training (and this includes training for people with lived experience of disability, the lesson here is do not assume! And training in the necessary skills to deliver employment services.
Through our RTO and regular staff forums we train, train and then train again with compulsory and voluntary components demonstrated to provide the best possible outcomes for people with disability.
That said, there is however one component that we cannot train and sadly I cannot bottle and sell because I would be rich if I could! The final component is a personal commitment on the part of every member of the team when it is required to put the needs of others in front of their own.
We just completed an all records breaking month (March) and NOVAs greatest asset is stretched tight ensuring the new workers and their employers get the support they need to successfully on-board the new team members. This team will succeed because they are personally dedicated AND they are well trained.
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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....
Masters & NOVA
Masters & Disability Employment
Woolworths ill-considered foray into the home hardware business has ended in disaster with losses of 1.300,000,000! I cant imagine how you could lose so much, let alone the cost of the misery of lost jobs for the Masters staff and their suppliers....
Could this be love?
The present Minister for Disability Services is very much in my good books - maybe this is the start of something special!!
Check this out: http://www....