Nigel Carter of Matchworks has worked in the employment sector for 25 years and has seen many versions and adaptions to the system. Nigel and believes that the new Local Jobs Program best captures many of the past successes- leaving out the rest. He has developed several relationships with Council, including with South East Business Networks (SEBN) and the GameChange initiative, as well as tapping into community-led groups and Federal and State government. Through this new system and the connections he has forged, Nigel has been able to contribute to and participate in several projects, all with the aim of helping improve the jobs sector.
One of the projects Nigel is working on is participating in jobs fairs. At a jobs fair, employers arrive with real jobs to be filled, support is on-hand and many attendees leave with an interview or job. Nigel has seen them work well- the fairs make it easier for both jobseekers and employers to find the right fit, all in one place, with an emphasis on providing transparent feedback on the same day.
Another innovative project he has seen is the use in south east Melbourne of the interactive ‘Workforce Australia Activity Board’. An online tool, it allows employment providers to see a real-time view of current support and employment services available in the area, in easy-to-navigate categories with contact details, eligibility, addresses and other notes available. This tool gives all providers, even those who are new to the industry, access to the sort of information that only someone like Nigel, with all his years of experience, might have known in the past.
Nigel enjoys his work, particularly when he can put names to faces, build relationships, and help individuals. While Zoom meetings are better than nothing, he makes it a priority to meet people face-to-face and sits down for a chat where he can. Local Jobs is part of Workforce Australia, employment services assisting unemployed and underemployed participants registered with Centrelink and funded by the Federal government. The new Local Jobs system encourages greater collaboration between employment providers, giving them opportunities to share ideas and help each other to deliver quality services to employers and participants. Providers also continue to collaborate with other groups within the southeast area to connect, support and share learnings, including with local government and community groups.
We asked Nigel about his hopes for the future, and he would like to be part of a lasting system that gives, in his words, “opportunity to every person, working through their barriers and to get a foot in the door to employment. The opportunity is now.” With greater levels of collaboration between employers, providers, community and education organisations, great results are on the horizon.