NOVAs greatest asset is its staff. I suspect you would struggle to find the CEO of any organisation state their staff are not vital and at the core of business reputation and results. It is my opinion that the key secret to success and growth is finding the right people followed up by a healthy investment in staff training.
Around 16 or 17 years ago with the assistance of the Regional Manager Racheal Neal, whose personal motto of just do it was never more valuable, NOVA created a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), NOVA Training.
We decided that all staff should receive formal training as a condition of employment and that commitment to at least a Cert IV level qualification remains a core condition of working with us.
The delivery of effective Disability Employment Services is not (I repeat!) generalist employment + bigger subsidies!
It is a shame on two levels to hear that being handed a phone and pointed at a computer constitutes is still sometimes deemed to be staff training and induction. First, this is a shame because people drawn to disability employment assistance frequently have the noblest motives and deserve good support and even more importantly (there should be a drum roll here). people with disability deserve to be assisted by well trained and resourced workers.
There is a critical need to either have or gain insight into the unique needs and, particularly in the search for long term job retention, the strengths and abilities of individual job seekers. Failure to invest in training staff that gives staff the skills to achieve this knowledge condemns the participant to repeated failure or consignment to the back burner when it comes to employment outcomes.
Training needs to include functionality of the present system (much as I rant against it staff must understand the requirements of the funding contract), disability specific training (and this includes training for people with lived experience of disability, the lesson here is do not assume! And training in the necessary skills to deliver employment services.
Through our RTO and regular staff forums we train, train and then train again with compulsory and voluntary components demonstrated to provide the best possible outcomes for people with disability.
That said, there is however one component that we cannot train and sadly I cannot bottle and sell because I would be rich if I could! The final component is a personal commitment on the part of every member of the team when it is required to put the needs of others in front of their own.
We just completed an all records breaking month (March) and NOVAs greatest asset is stretched tight ensuring the new workers and their employers get the support they need to successfully on-board the new team members. This team will succeed because they are personally dedicated AND they are well trained.
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