I am going to write a few articles on how to identify good service provision, the first is on the vital role played through individualised job search – looking for a position that is tailored to the wishes, interests and ability of the person for whom employment is being sought.
Many years ago a chap called Marc Gold (now sadly departed) studied what worked, and what didn’t work, for people with disability when it came to the LONG TERM retention of employment.
Long term is really important for a whole variety of reasons and it has always been my belief that ‘long term’ starts after 12 months. Mr Gold however, believed that it was at least 6 months after the end of any subsidy. In other words - for both of us - time counts after the person is clearly able to demonstrate they are able to hold down their job when the employer has to carry their cost without incentive or subsidy (just like everybody else).
Mr Gold also showed that if you went out and looked for jobs then tried to find a person to suit about 50% of all placements would fall over within the 6 months post subsidy.
However, if you went out to look for a job that matched the needs, aspiration and ability of the person you were trying to find work for, all other things being equal, the percentage still in employment rose to >80%.
It is a simple fact that for every sample that NOVA has since taken, these percentages remain more or less accurate.
It also takes longer and costs more to seek a job that matches than it does to run through a drawer of potential candidates and grab best fit.
So here’s the sum: Match the job to the person and take more time but get better long term retention or place more people into work and accept that a larger percentage will fail.
NOVA takes the first position for reasons other than those stated above. We use individualised job search because the cost in terms of emotional suffering and the damage caused by repeated job loss are simply too high.
The markers of excellence used by the Commonwealth have only just begun to recognise long term job retention as an indicator of quality. Many of the organisations that would have shone under this criterion are no longer with us – replaced by programs that buy subsidised short term figures, numbers that are winked at because they boost ‘participation’.
People with disability are playing on a pitch that’s tilted against them, they don’t need additional disadvantage and the risk of being blamed for job loss when in fact the set-up was just that are simply too high.
Whenever NOVA fails (and sadly sometimes we do) we hold an inquest to find out why – a poor match between aspiration, ability and opportunity is frequently a common denominator for lack of success.
Ask your service provider to tell you on average how long their workers remain in employment and do they seek new jobs specifically for you or are jobs sought than a best-fit model applied? Does your service provider learn about skills and interests then match these to the most suitable job?
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