A focus on motivation and job skills is helping to get the unemployed in Ballarat back to work.
Up to 30 participants are enrolled in the Envision work for the dole program in Ballarat.
Upcycled and recycled materials are used to create new products for not-for-profit community organisations in hands-on and innovative projects.
Envision Ballarat supervisor Robin Hallett said he has seen many people come through the program and leave to get a job.
“The stigma around people on work for the dole is frustrating. The program can be so impactful,” he said.
The theory behind work for the dole is really good. It could be great, but I don’t think it is set up right.Robin Hallett, Envision
“One of the guys here has had a few chances and job offers haven’t come through. He is nothing special, but we can see he is a worker. He has said himself if we could just get him a job he would be fine. But he has always struggled to get to that point. We motivated him to make a few calls and get into a forklift driving course. Hopefully I won’t see him again.
“Very few participants go the full six months of the program - many find a job or go into a training course in between.”
Despite many success stories, Mr Hallett admits the system doesn’t work for everyone.
“The theory behind work for the dole is really good. It could be great, but I don’t think it is set up right. The Ballarat office has 250 people each. That is really hard to deal with the individuals adequately,” he said.
“For some people, it works really well, I have seen it happen. I have had younger guys come in here with little to no skills who can’t cut in a straight line, when they have left here they have had a lot of confidence and can get their foot in the door.
“But it doesn’t work for others, perhaps they have had a bit of bad luck or they are dealing with the wrong person and don’t get off on the right foot with their job consultant. Then there are some that just rort the system.”
Envision participants have been creating garden planters and shelves for the Food is Free Green Space. Participants have also created material reusable bags for Eureka Mums and the Soup Bus.
The technology department’s most recent project is to create prosthetic limbs using a three dimensional printer. One participant with technology skills rebuilt the printer three times before he got it working.
Mr Hallett said the program’s aim was to create products to give to the community and teach clients new skills and motivation.
“In a lot of cases, we don’t have an opportunity to offer them a skill, say if they have worked 30 years in the building industry. But in that situation we have the opportunity to produce something great people will appreciate and they can teach others that have never done this work before,” he said.
Not-for-profit community groups can get in touch if they would like something made. Contact Envision supervisor Robin Hallett at email@example.com.