Purro Birik - 49

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Purro Birik - (Healthy Spirit)



It is our experience that successful approaches to the provision of employment assistance must tackle issues from this "holistic" perspective - certainly a challenge for our industry as we become increasingly focused on the achievement of "outcomes" that are narrowly defined, with funding arrangements to match.


In terms of resources requires to establish partnerships, Work Force has utilised its existing staff and programs in order to facilitate linkages with its local Aboriginal community. One Employment Consultant has plays an ongoing critical role in establishing relationships and in turn has "linked in" the rest of the Work Force team. All work Force staff have ATSI jobseekers in their caseloads (that is, Work Force does not have a designated worker for this client group). This approach has proven to be positive, with all Work Force staff developing an awareness of Aboriginal culture and employment related issues. All staff members have attended cross-cultural training, in addition to meeting with staff from the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service and Darebin Community health.




Work Force believes it has been "successful" in its association with local Aboriginal communities. This view appears to be supported by Work Force service users and local Aboriginal service providers. We consider that our success comes as a direct result of the agency's commitment to this group, commitment that is shown by staff, management and, importantly, the Committee of Management. In addition to this, our willingness to be flexible in terms of methods of consultation, seeking direction on program issues and asking the community for feedback on ways in which we can work together has also been a critical success factor.


We define "success" as incorporating the following;

  • Awareness of our service by the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) and the Aboriginal Access Worker at our local generic community health centre - Work Force staff are readily recognised by staff and clients at VAHS and staff from both services feel comfortable in facilitating linkages between their clients and Work Force.

  • Work Force has been invited to attend NAIDOC day activities, address staff at VAHS, and become a member of Darebin Aboriginal Network and Koori Employment Support Network (both of which we have actively participated in).

  • ATSI referrals regularly made to Work Force via VAHS and Darebin Community Health.

  • Open communication with workers about the appropriateness of their referrals and facilitation of referrals to other options where appropriate (including pre-vocatio~nal options).

  • Participation of ATSI jobseekers in Work Force activities - including job related and social activities.

  • Exchange of information across VAHS and Work Force staff.

  • Little compromise in the overall model of Work Force service delivery, that is, we have not attempted to establish a separate employment program. This approach has proven to be positive to date, but is subject to ongoing review and evaluation.

In terms of employment outcomes (as per DFaCS specifications) they have not been as high as would have been expected, given the number of ATSI jobseekers we have provided employment assistance to. We are satisfied, however, that a number of other positive outcomes were achieved for jobseekers that did not, or are yet to, secure jobs. These include; placement into further education and training options, referral to CRS for specialist assessments, referral to other community-based service providers, regular participation in Work Force activities.


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