July 14, 2016
Jobs created: 2.6 FTE (proposed)
Mates on the Move
One of the key services provided by Prisoners Aid NSW is the collection and storage of prisoner’s property while they are incarcerated and its safe return after their release. They are developing a social enterprise, Mates on the Move, to further their mission of reduced recidivism and increased rehabilitation amongst ex-offenders. The biggest challenge faced by ex-offenders is getting a job with its implications on income, housing, establishing new networks and moving forward. Mates on the Move will focus on training and employment for ex-offenders in the growing transport industry. Given the organisation’s experience in transport and warehousing and the availability of employment opportunities with no requirement for tertiary qualifications, this industry was an obvious fit.
Mates on the Move is a work in progress, but it hopes to provide a multi-week training program in collaboration with key service partners. They have a dedicated manager and hope to soon employ a part time case worker who will secure relationships with a range of partners and a mentor (from the ex-offender cohort) who will supervise commercial undertakings and speak to participants from a place of understanding. There will be a strong volunteer component. The training program focuses on practical skills and will have five streams.
- Life skills that can challenge ex-offenders upon release.
- Employability skills focussing on resumes, interview skills and workplace interaction.
- Peer to peer mentoring for moving forward and overcoming obstacles.
- Accredited training in warehouse operation in partnership with an RTO
- On the job training through removalist and relocation work with like-minded organisations (the non-government community housing sector).
Mates on the Move is currently working to secure the co-operation of a range of partners to deliver this training and to help provide employment pathways for graduates. The revenue gained from the transport work in the on the job training component will generate revenue to fund the program.
Opening doors through Social Traders
Mates on the Move is yet to secure funding. It will complete The Crunch program with Social Traders in 2015, and Manager, Kate Wiechmann, sees their selection for the program as the fledgling enterprise’s biggest achievement to date. “It will give us the competitive edge we need to move to commercialisation. You can’t underestimate the value that Social Traders provides in terms of a network of community and experiences. It also opens doors to potential funders that would not have been available to a small organisation in an industry that some people find confronting,” said Kate.
The support of service delivery partners will be essential and they have had positive discussions with other support providers like OzHarvest, Women in Prison Advocacy Network, Community Restorative Centre and ARBIAS as well as commercial operations like Toll.
Mates on the Move hope to commence operation in March 2016 with its first graduates emerging by the mid-2016. It has a target of 30 graduates from its training program in the first year. In time social impact will be measured by graduation rates, employment rates and reoffending rates. Their lofty goal is for every graduate to secure employment which will have the flow on effect of positively impacting public perception of ex-offenders, not to mention reducing their dependence on welfare.
Mates on the Move hope to generate revenue to cover expenses within three years.