My apologies for such a long break between blog entries.
In no particular order:
1. Star Ratings: We have ours and congratulations to NOVA's managers and staff on a fabulous result - well done all - a mixed bag of 3's and 4's and this has to be the stupidest system ever foisted upon anyone! Despite that my staff recorded a great result and showed that you do not have to compromise on quality and customer service in order to get by.
Speaking of which (note this next bit DEEWR readers), during a series of recent interviews for additional staff I received quotes to the effect of, "We are not encouraged to get full time positions" & "You need to make sure employers get every possible subsidy"
This is what you get when policy is set by folk with no idea of the needs of people with disability (and it's what makes the "Star" ratings so utterly pointless). People with disability want meaningful work at award wage and they want to earn the absolute maximum they can. When you have a system that rewards service providers for minimum effort and makes it commercially sensible to seek part time work/split jobs that's exactly what you'll get. The DEEWR system doesn't compare apples with apples - indeed it would not be possible to do so.
However, I do not whinge without an alternative that's fair, suits everyone and would work: reward reduction in Centrelink benefit. This is easily checked, works to move service providers towards genuine quality, allows service providers to specialise and would make so much sense that I am absolutely certain we'll never see it!
2. February placements: A quick public recognition of the magnificent effort of every NOVA team in making February a fabulous months for finding work - we'll have more than 60 new job starts and that's a record for the month and a tribute to the teams dedication and tenacity - well done all.
3. Walgett. Having spent 2 days in Walgett and seen the tremendous job being done by my team while taking part in an SBS 'Living Black' documentary I would again like to make public recognition of the fabulous Café 64 team. We also have become the proud owners of the Café after a protracted purchase process. That means we can get down to some real development work over the next few months and bring the Café up to speed as far as presentation and modern equipment is concerned.
4. Foreign assignments. We have NOVA staffers in the UK at the moment for benchmarking against UK programs. This work is important in as much as it enables us to see whether we are competing at an international level in terms of our service offering for people with disability as well as exposing our staff to international examples of best practice.
5. Me! I placed a person into work during February!!! It's good to see that I can still cut the mustard and I hope to continue this effort in March. I also will be asking every NOVA manager to take part in the job seeking part of our work. This isn't just to support the staff it is also to check our systems, keep everyone centered on the most important aspect of our work - actually finding employment for people with disability - I will keep you posted on our progress.
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