The loss of Pavarotti (see below) was not overcome by my introduction to Shannon Noll (War of the World's), nor was my mood improved by my hosts questions in relation to Richard Burton - who's he? and Justin Hayward - 'he sings with the Moody Blues' - who are they?
However, the week has enabled me to spend some time with my staff and I must say that this was both encouraging and refreshing.
Without getting too technical, let me give you some background information. The present government's belief is that there are a core of people amongst the more than 700,000 australians in receipt of the disability pension that shouldn't be on a pension.
They want to get them off.
It's my belief that there are a group of people who are in receipt of the disability who shouldn't be on a pension.
I want to get them off.
We (our government and I) share an equally strong conviction, we only differ on our understanding of the reasons for people being/staying on the pension ( and I promised I wouldn't get into a rant so, enough said).
As a result of the government's belief, new money and initiatives have been directed at moving people who have a disability into the world of work and this has seen NOVA grow remarkably in the past couple of years.
The concern I felt in relation to this growth was in regard to our organisational philosophy. NOVA is a client focussed program and we believe very much in the principles of social justice and inclusion, in the 'Job Match' model of service delivery and in Social Role Valorisation (have a look at our 'downloads' page for more information on these topics: http://www.novaemployment.com.au/downloads2.asp ).
It would be easy to get swept up in the enthusiasm for 'performance' and 'compliance', miss the point of truly caring for the individuals that come to us and simply chase dollars and numbers.
After a couple of weeks supporting my various teams around Sydney and the North Coast I am absolutely convinced that while NOVA has experienced enormous growth and the numbers of folk coming throughour doors has pretty much doubled, this has not been at the expense of providing an individualised and personal service to each person that comes to us and delivering that service on the basis of need.
I am so proud to be part of this team and, while commending them as a group, invite you to read through the various individual stories associated with each outlet: http://www.novaemployment.com.au/branchLocations.asp.
I hope you will find their achievements as inspiring as I have.
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Making a tough job tougher!
Making a tough job tougher
It isnt easy to get a decent job and its harder to do so if you have a disability.
NOVA employs around 190 people, an effective and experienced team who are able to draw upon a staff of highly skilled trainers and a support program honed over almost 30 years and tens of thousands of participants....
Your Work There was never any doubt in my mind that I would work. My dad told me I would work and there wasn't ever a suggestion that my future held an alternative option....
Not so bad! Taken from: Today's Guardian at 4.09pm Tuesday 7th November 2017:
In a world full of discouragement there’s always a space for good news....
The NDIS mantra is 'choice and control'
To be valuable, choice needs to be informed.
Average Sydney Disability Employment Services placement rates are 34....
It's voting time at "Focusonability" - with a record number of films entered, a tremendous effort by more than 100 High Schools and 19 countries competing in the International section it was always going to be a hard job to pick a winner....
Choice & Control
The NDIS slogans around choice and control demonstrate the importance of consumer involvement in both the choice and control of supports they need.
However, in order to be valuable, choice needs to be informed by accurate data such is this: http://www....
Last week (14-16) it was my privilege to attend the 1st World Supported Employment Conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
"Employment for All - A Global Perspective" brought workers from around the globe (primarily Europe) to discuss best practice in supported employment....
Quality and the Stars Quality and the Stars
There have probably been few people more openly critical of the Disability Employment Service (DES) Star Ratings than me.
The Stars, ranging from 1 to 5 are supposed to give some insight into whether a service is a poor or high performing program....
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.