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New model seeks to improve job outcomes for the disadvantaged

17 July 20141 comment

shutterstock_193025789-resizedPeak bodies from business, the union movement and social services have collaborated in developing a proposal to improve job outcomes for disadvantaged people.

The Australian Council of Social Service, the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Business Council of Australia have proposed improvements to employment services delivery ahead of the announcement by the federal government of new national contracts with employment services providers.

This follows the development of an alliance between three organisations to work together to tackle entrenched disadvantage.

The organisations propose employment services be reoriented towards a ‘partnerships approach’, which more effectively links employment services with employer needs, and where funding is redirected to more targeted training and in-job support.

The ‘partnerships approach’ would include the establishment of employment brokers to create partnerships between employers and employment services to better match jobseekers with labour demand.

It would also see the establishment of regional employment boards in areas of high unemployment to promote the partnerships approach among industry, unions, employment services and training providers.

And it would also redirect training resources from the existing Employment Pathway Fund to focus more on disadvantaged jobseekers, and to fund work experience and training as part of the partnerships approach.

“Stronger partnerships, supported by employment brokers would enable job service providers to better respond to employer demand, tailor training opportunities to employer need and provide in-work support to jobseekers to ensure lasting employment outcomes,” said Dr Cassandra Goldie, ACOSS CEO.

“It is critical that people currently excluded from the labour market are given support to participate, and at the same time, employers need to have a direct line of sight to disadvantaged jobseekers,” she said.

“The employment services system needs to be much more effectively matched to the needs of employers, the other crucial half of a successful job match,” said Business Council of Australia Chief Executive, Jennifer Westacott.

“Business wants to play a role in ensuring all jobseekers are in a position to contribute to and benefit from economic growth. A partnership with service providers will help make the most of opportunities for disadvantaged jobseekers,” Ms Westacott said.

The ACTU believes the model offers an opportunity to overcome obstacles facing disadvantaged jobseekers.

“There are groups of people in Australia – the very long-term unemployed; many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and high numbers of people with disability who remain excluded from society,” said President of the ACTU, Ged Kearney.

“A partnerships approach would be facilitated by the broader community, including training providers, unions and community services. By working together we can reduce poverty, enhance human dignity, and improve job security and the economy”, Ms Kearney said.

The organisations are seeking government support to facilitate two trials of the employment partnerships – one at the national level focused on large national employers, and one at the regional level focused on a network of regional employers.