CoAct and its network of employment and community services partners met in Brisbane last week to share insights and best practice approaches to customer service, at the annual CoAct ConnectUp! event. As part of the two-day conference, the best and brightest from within the network were celebrated at a dinner and awards ceremony.
Recognising the value of establishing and maintaining strong relationships with employers, the Canberra-based arm of MRI E-cyle Solutions was named CoAct Employer of the Year. MRI E-cycle Solutions provides a range of e-waste recycling services, across four sites in Vic, Qld, NSW and the ACT. Working in partnership with CoAct member, Workways/Advance Personel, MRI E-Waste ACT has demonstrated a strong commitment to creating local opportunities for people to transition into employment.
Over the last 7 years, the business has employed 12-15 people with a disability every year, building their business model and practices around the employment of people with a disability, and the long-term unemployed. They have developed highly flexible and supportive business processes that ensure participants are matched 'perfectly' to specific tasks and roles based on their capabilities and skills. Workways/Advance and MRI E-Waste ACT have developed a great working relationship that allows both organisations to achieve their business objectives and demonstrates a shared commitment to the success of MRI’s workers.
The other big winner on the night was Youth Projects, who took out the prestigious Steve Lawrence Innovation Award. Named for CoAct’s founding father, the Steve Lawrence Award recognises a CoAct member organisation that has developed an innovative approach to improving employment opportunities, social inclusion and/ or community strength. Youth Projects received the Award for their Youth Space initiative, aimed at helping the youth of Glenroy and North-West Melbourne.
Co-designed by young people, Youth Projects’ Youth Space is a non-traditional, flexible place for learning and inclusion, based on a concierge engagement model. Clients are welcome to enter and engage daily into activities that strengthen the skills employers value the more: team work, initiative and communication. Over the last 12 months, Youth Projects’ Glenroy and Sunbury and Craigieburn sites have engaged youth through the Transition to Work program, achieving 60 job placements and 29 education placements.
Presenting both organisations with their awards at the ConnectUp!, CoAct CEO, Matt Little, said it was wonderful to see the level of commitment to helping Australia’s most disadvantaged demonstrated by all CoAct’s partners.
“We’re entering a period in which the customer service provided by those operating in the employment and disability services sector will come under increasing scrutiny. That’s why it is so pleasing to be able to showcase true, best-practice approaches to engaging with communities from within our network,” Mr Little said.