‘I Just Want to Work’

A Resource Kit for Community Service Organisations

The Resource Kit for supporting people to achieve economic participation and social inclusion is a workforce development and agency planning resource. It seeks to give workers in community service agencies tools they can use to increase vocational outcomes for their clients.

I Just Want to Work (Interactive PDF)

Vocational outcomes include participation in paid employment, unpaid and/or voluntary work in the community and/or participation in vocational training and education programs.

The resource has been trialled in the Western suburbs of Melbourne with community workers and youth workers from the Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service. Positive feedback on the value of the resource kit has been received from participants in the trials and from managers of various welfare services who have reviewed the draft.

Addressing Unemployment is a key focus of the resource kit. In May 2013, there were  660,300 people who were unemployed in Australia of whom over 506,000 had been unemployed for four weeks or more.  Over 122,000 people are considered to be very long term unemployed, because they have been out of the workforce for more than a year.  More than half of them are highly disadvantaged job seekers because they have multiple and complex barriers to gaining employment.

Recognising the complexities of these issues, the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs stated that more holistic approaches which can generate “more effective links with (and between) existing services” are required.

Many clients of community service organisations are long term unemployed and face significant issues which prevent them from entering the workforce or participating in education and/or training programs. This situation remains a considerable challenge for agencies and raises many questions about the role of welfare services in terms of ensuring vocational outcomes for clients.

Community service organisations wishing to support vocational outcomes for their clients are faced with the dilemma of how to start this process so that the responses they build are owned and delivered by all levels of the agency. The Resource Kit is designed to assist agencies to build practical responses to unemployment and increase vocational outcomes for their clients.

Long term benefits from the use of resource:

  • Those who are long term unemployed and face complex barriers to employment, including low levels of literacy, poor mental health, homelessness or substance misuse will benefit because their case worker is better informed and focussed on providing assistance that enables them to access training and employment opportunities. This will mean that more people gain employment and are in turn self-empowered, socially active and economically independent.
  • Community and welfare workers will receive training and support, which will increase their skill levels in working with disadvantaged clients.
  • Community welfare agencies wishing to focus on long-term solutions to poverty and disadvantage will be more effective at all levels of the agency in building practical responses that address unemployment and increase social and economic participation.

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