Both experience and the research tells us that one of the most reliable pathways out of disadvantage and most effective ways of connecting with the broader community is through employment.
Jesuit Social Services has a history of investing in programs to support people to transition into jobs. Building on our experience over many years with young people in the criminal justice system, in 2001 we set up the Gateway program, which provided young people with the opportunity to learn new skills and use them in a way recognised and valued by the community, laying the foundations for future employment.
The creation of Jesuit Community College in 2011 gave further expression to our commitment to provide training and employment pathways, with accredited and pre-accredited training offered to people with barriers to mainstream education.
Training programs at Jesuit Community College sit side-by-side our workplace inclusion programs, which connect employers with people facing barriers to employment. These programs get people “in the door”, while our mentoring and training offerings support them to perform to the best of their ability. Many of our participants go on to further employment and tell us that the workplace inclusion programs gave them the start they needed to get their lives back on track.
We conduct a number of workplace inclusion programs in corporate, community and small business settings, including:
Jesuit Social Services leads the EmployXpress initiative, in conjunction with Inner Melbourne VET Cluster (IMVC) and Foundation House. The partnership was recently successful in being awarded a Jobs Victoria Employment Network (JVEN) by the Victorian Government to support long term unemployed people, including people who are from refugee or CALD backgrounds, or who have a disability, or who have had a involvement with the justice system, into employment.
IEI is an initiative led by Social Ventures Australia (SVA) in conjunction with Jesuit Social Services, Mission Employment, the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Business Council of Australia to create pathways to employment for unemployed young people through partnerships with major employers. Over the past two years Jesuit Social Services has worked closely SVA and Coles Supermarkets and a network of five Star Sydney Hotels to create a range of new employment opportunities. In partnership with us, SVA has recently been funded by the Victorian Government under the JVEN program, to extend this employer demand led initiative to reducing unemployment through partnerships with major employers, for a further three years.
Our Ignite Cafe at the Camberwell Library provides a welcoming place for the community to meet, as well as opportunities for people to train. At the cafe, people experiencing long-term unemployment learn alongside experienced hospitality professionals. Participants train in food preparation skills and customer service, gain hands-on experience serving delicious food and coffee, and develop their confidence to make positive and lasting changes to their lives. The library and cafe complement each other, providing a place for the local community to gather, share ideas and connect. Visit Ignite Cafe Camberwell on Facebook to learn more.
Jesuit Social Services is a member of a partnership with IMVC (as the lead agency) to support young unemployed people into employment as part of the Federal Governments Transition to Work program. This program provides support to young unemployed people across the western and south eastern regions of Melbourne.
Over the past three years, Jesuit Social Services has worked with over 30 small to medium size employers to support more than 40 people experiencing a range of job barriers into employment. These partnerships are now being continued through the EmployXpress and the IEI initiatives.