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SOCIAL TRADERS IN GEELONG

March 27, 2019

Innovative social enterprise creating jobs for Geelong

A Geelong-based social enterprise has created 17 new jobs for disadvantaged youth thanks to an exclusive contract with VicRoads.

My Maintenance Crew, an initiative of community organisation, Diversitat, won a competitive tender to provide maintenance services to 25 vacant sites alongside major roads between Geelong and Apollo Bay.

The contract reflects a growing Government and private sector commitment to ‘social procurement’ – that is, purchasing goods and services from social enterprise businesses with the intent of creating jobs for people experiencing disadvantage.

According to My Maintenance Crew Operations Manager, Brad Keating, the contract unlocked a range of opportunities for both new and existing staff.

“We provide employees with a range of accredited training to ensure they are given industry specific skills. We also focus on life skills such as independence and self-development, as much as the technical training.

“Our goal is to increase the chance of breaking the cycle of disadvantage for all employees and these skills are critical in that context.

“That’s why big contracts like this are massive for us and the community. The VicRoads opportunity was significant for a few reasons. It created new job opportunities, but it also validated our services in a legitimate commercial sense.

“Buying our services delivers an important social impact, so in a sense you’re getting even more value for money.”

Ian Stokes, Acting Manager Land and Property, VicRoads said that My Maintenance Crew had more than delivered on the contract to maintain over 500,000 square metres of VicRoads owned land over the recent summer season.

Social Traders, Australia’s leading social enterprise development organisation who facilitated the deal between VicRoads and My Maintenance Crew, is committed to increasing more social procurement such as these across Victoria.

The Social Traders Regional Roadshow is on 28 March at the Newtown Event Centre
40 Read Street, Newtown, at 9.30 AM.

“We connect certified social enterprises with Government and business buyers, identifying deal opportunities and bringing the parties together,” said Managing Director David Brookes.

“We estimate that there are more than 60 social enterprises operating in the Geelong region, with the potential to make a significant contribution to the local economy.

“We’d like to work with as many as possible and help them realise just how much of an impact they can have. And that is through legitimate commercial transactions with business and Government buyers.

“Since 2017, we’ve facilitated more than $30 million worth of social procurement contracts Australia-wide, which has supported around 400 jobs for people facing some form of disadvantage or exclusion. These numbers provide a compelling indication of the huge positive impact stemming from social procurement.”

For more information contact:

James Aanensen – M: 0410 518 590 – e: jaanensen@prx.com.au

BACKGRROUND – EMPLOYEE STORIES

Naomi Bavington:

Naomi, 18, has worked at My Maintenance Crew for six months. Having left school half way through year 12 to move from Kyneton to live with her partner in Geelong, Naomi found the process of landing a job was rather difficult and had been unemployed for almost a year. My Maintenance Crew has since presented opportunities that she otherwise may not have had. When asked why she enjoys working at My Maintenance Crew, Naomi said she loves the supportive environment My Maintenance Crew provides.

She has a strong passion for animals and still hopes of one day becoming a veterinary nurse – a goal that is now a lot closer to reality thanks to her experience in full-time employment.

“It makes you want to do the job rather than having to just do it. I have made so many new connections since starting at My Maintenance crew. I truly value the friendships I have made with my fellow team leaders and crew members. I consider them like family.

“I really enjoy completing our daily tasks such as cleaning, gardening and painting. I am also completing a Certificate II in construction pathways, I have learnt some many new skills at My Maintenance Crew which have helped me feel more relaxed and confident when I’m exposed to new situations. I am so proud I have been able to get a job at My Maintenance Crew.”

Brianna Ure:

Brianna, 21, was originally born in Victoria, moved to Queensland at age six and only returned to Victoria two years ago to live with her partner in Geelong. Unable to find a job for a significant period of time, Brianna said it was an emotionally trying time for her as she wanted to contribute to their household and not be reliant on Centrelink.

It was almost by accident she landed a job with My Maintenance Crew, after Brianna’s resume was incorrectly submitted on her behalf. But she was offered a job by My Maintenance Crew as a result and the rest is history.

Since starting at the social enterprise in May 2018, Brianna has made the most of every opportunity she has been given at My Maintenance Crew.

END

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