Please note: Images in this article were taken before current COVID-19 safety measures were in place.
Since 2016, Jobs Victoria has helped almost 10,000 people find a job.
By far the single biggest Victorian Government investment in terms of getting more people into work, Jobs Victoria is an almost $100 million program focusing on long-term unemployed or those at risk of long-term unemployment.
With around 70 partners across the state, it helps people find work and helps business find staff through flexible, no-cost to the recruiter, localised recruitment.
Here’s a taste: recent placements have been with the West Gate Tunnel Project, Mildura’s Karadoc Solar Farm, Bendigo’s Poyser Motors Group, Werribee’s The Mansion Hotel and Spa and Richmond’s Pana Chocolate – which is specifically working with people who have matters pending in court. Placing ex-auto workers into new roles in the wake of a car manufacturing downturn was a more recent priority for the program.
What makes this program one-of-a-kind is that everyone is welcome in its remit, including those often overlooked, such as refugees and people living with disability or mental illness. It differs from Commonwealth job programs because participants voluntarily sign up.
Yossi Goldfarb leads the delivery of Jobs Victoria’s programs. "A lot of people aren’t eligible for Commonwealth support, such as recently-arrived migrants," he explains. "So there’s entrenched disadvantage, and there are some gaps in service delivery. We’re increasingly addressing that gap: making things fair for all job-seekers facing barriers to employment by connecting them to the right services.
"When Jobs Victoria was established, our research highlighted that around 50,000 Victorian job-seekers had been receiving Commonwealth income support for more than three years, which demonstrated a gap in services being offered," says Yossi. "In addition, a number of job-seekers were ineligible for Commonwealth assistance but needed support to access the labour market, such as young people and some newly-arrived migrants and asylum seekers. Jobs Victoria was designed to address these gaps."
Employers stand to benefit too, he points out. "Many businesses find the recruitment process a constant challenge: at the same time, there are thousands of Victorian job-seekers with skills and experience who are eager to find work. Through our process, Victorian businesses gain access to quality candidates, and job-seekers find meaningful, ongoing employment."
Jobs Victoria’s free service helps employers find the right people by understanding specific recruitment needs, industry and location. "Candidates we present are job-ready and motivated, and if they have skill gaps, we can organise training and certification. Once we place someone into a business, we support them for six months to ensure a smooth transition."
Looking at Jobs Victoria participants who have been placed into jobs, the top three primary demographics are those from a culturally-diverse background, young people aged 15 to 24 and Aboriginal people.
Victorians with disabilities are also being offered opportunities through the program. "Jobs Victoria ties in with opportunities arising from the implementation of the NDIS [National Disability Insurance Scheme], bringing people with disabilities into the workforce," Yossi notes.
Regional case study, Don Smallgoods
One of the most successful results of the program is Jobs Victoria’s partnership with Don Smallgoods, which employs about 1500 at its Castlemaine manufacturing site on any given day.
"The company was finding it difficult to recruit staff, so they worked with Jobs Victoria to build recruitment strategies: we’ve placed about 100 people into work there – a lot of recent refugee arrivals from Myanmar," says Yossi. "Jobs Victoria's tailored support program gave potential employees a factory tour before committing them to the application process and continued to support them once they were in the job. The program has been so successful that some participants have purchased their first homes and others have moved to the region – that shows what Jobs Victoria can do for both an employee and an employer and the community."