For the month of May (excuse me, I should have pointed out that each month NOVA staff have an internal goal or competition of some sort) the 'comp' revolved around staff war stories: things that had happened that we found personally inspirational, moving or likely to remind ourselves and others of our vision and reason for being. This is in addition to the testimonials that we receive and collate for annual publication.
There are more than 20 entries in a range of categories that include and highlight the ability of our job seekers / workers, the willingness of employers to make adaptation for people with disability, the best 'buzz' and a catch-all 'other'.
There's a theme through every one: the dedication and initiative shown by my staff.
It has been my privilege to work with many motivated, intelligent and thoughtful people. I can say that many have been smarter than I, and my colleagues have often shown better insight and resilience than I have been able to muster - what I can't say is whether they have drawn more encouragement and support than I receive as part of NOVA's staff.
This is a place where people who want to make a difference can find the tools and help necessary to succeed (I count myself amongst these) and the freedom to create opportunities for our job seekers.
We are being audited this week (it's an annual process) against the disability service standards and I expect we will, as usual, pass with flying colours.
I am reminded of the place the Disability Services Act has as a landmark piece of legislation - a milestone that enabled organisations like NOVA to exist and has supported many thousands of Australians to gain independence and participation in our society.
What a pity the present environment no longer encourages innovation or initiative.
I celebrated the move from our previous funding body (now FAHCSIA) to what is now Education, Employment & Workplace Relations - I saw this as an appropriate move that recognised people with a disability on the same footing as their non-disabled peers - wrong, wrong, wrong!
What a disaster has occurred.
Instead of searching for new methods for improving programs or seeking better and new ways to increase participation, a regime of compliance, control and stifling bureaucracy has sought to crush the life out of the disability employment network, reducing passion to process, smashing initiative on an anvil of micromanagement and obsession with trivium.
Here's the rub: many of the people presently on DSP do not have major obstacles to participation in the workplace. How did these folk get where they are? Government (Labour & Liberal) parked thousands in DSP rather than the less politically acceptable long term unemployed. Structural inequality between New Start and DSP mean only the brave or uninformed now attempt transition.
The present direction for disability employment is flawed and must inevitably achieve exactly the opposite of its stated intention. The 'Star Ratings' are meaningless*(*Question for today: If the 'Stars' are so good, why dump them? If they suck (and they do) why use them as a measurement system?).
Despite, rather than through, government policy and direction, meaningful outcomes are being achieved for thousands of young people who have a disability. While the 'star' system actively encourages abandoning young people with disability to long term unemployment many DEN services stick to principle and mission.
Hearing their stories is tremendously encouraging - I will post a book of good news as an antidote and counterweight to the present environment.
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Review Australia's $1bn disability employment service criticised over poor outcomes and reduced employment - https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/mar/31/australias-disability-employment-down-3-in-past-decade-as-service-scheme-criticised-for-poor-outcomes....
Thank you Mark Zuckerberg (not!) Friends of NOVA may have seen our Facebook page is down - courtesy Mark Zuckerberg NOVA/Focus are victims of much larger forces - no idea when or if we'll be restored - more as events unfold....
They Don't Count Gaining or holding formal qualifications can set a person up for a lifetime career. Holding appropriate qualifications that can lead to lifelong careers, tradespeople generally make a good income and enjoy well deserved respect....
Benchmarks To access NOVA Employment or any Disability Employment Service (DES), almost everyone is required to be assessed by the Services Australia Services (Centrelink) to determine their "Benchmark" hours: Benchmark hours are the pay point for service providers; being the minimum working hours required for the DES provider to bill the Government and the assessed maximum hours a person is deemed capable of working with DES support....
International Day of People with a Disability
International Day of People with a Disability
It's IDPwD and we have a 1 hour 'special' screening on SBS from 4.30 this afternoon.
Our Ryan Goodwin has done a great job of selecting some of the great entries from NOVA's 'Focusonability' short film festival - we love the Festival and hope that you'll love these films, gathered from around the world....
2020 - the first half When the going gets tough, the tough get going
Good! - Now they've left us, let's look at reality - when the going gets tough, many people suffer and dis-proportionally, people with disability suffer more....
Countdown Clock II
What's the countdown clock all about?
It's our closing time and a countdown to the end of a truly remarkable month of extraordinary effort by my staff....
Countdown Clock Regular viewers will have noticed a countdown clock ticking away (above)
What's that all about?
Can't say - you have to wait till 4.30pm (a little earlier for staff)
Just the best 3 One thing we all love is a winner which is why there's a smile on my face it will be pretty hard to shift.
There's a nightmare pandemic sweeping the world (carried off my mum), the economy has tanked in a never before seen disaster that's left more than a million Aussies unemployed and the only news seems to be bad news....
More than Money!
If asked, most of us would say we went to work for the money, to pay our bills or support our family.
All true, and yet work means so much more:
Prior to finding a job with NOVA employment Glenn* struggled to keep jobs for more than a few months and was generally working as a dishwasher in restaurants which he found to be quite unsatisfying work....
Life Changers II
How are you in the mornings (or evenings, or nights)? NOVA is an 'old school' Disability Employment Service - we find work in the general community with identical pay and conditions as those enjoyed by people who dont have a disability....
Life Changers Required! Received yesterday:
I was unemployed for 24 years because of my disability. I was looking for a job for the last 2 and half years. With the help of (NOVA Staff) I found suitable job and working in the law company for last one year....
Don't know about you but I have felt pretty bruised from all the horrible stuff brought upon us by this damn virus - seeing so many folk losing their jobs is particularly awful and the uncertainty generated for everyone, particularly for workers who have a disability is dreadful to see....
Best Ever II
Following from last post:
NOVA Employment has operated for 30 years. Comparing all results from previous years, February 2020 has been our most successful to date - Following on from January that's 2 in a row and every indication March will also be a record breaker....
NOVA Employment posted another 'best ever' result for the first month of 2020.
Despite the most dreadful natural disasters and with many businesses closed for the holidays, the NOVA team delivered more new workers than in any previous January results, beating past 5 years average by 25% and previous (2017) 'best ever' numbers by 5%....
Depressing cracked record!
A good friend will occasionally pull me up with the reminder that I have a tendency to rant, 'rave on slop jaw' if I remember correctly....
Big Win! Saturday night saw a big win for the NOVA team and for people with disability when our Podcast partners NOVA Entertainment- no relationship other than mates - received the following:
BEST ORIGINAL PODCAST - BRANDED
Focus On Ability; Nova Employment & the Nova Entertainment Podcast Team , NOVA Entertainment
BEST ORIGINAL PODCAST - UNBRANDED
Hamish & Andy; Hamish Blake & Andy Lee, PodcastOne Australi
Taken from the web: https://www....
Received the following yesterday morning:
Hi Nova, just wanted to give my feedback in regards to my mother getting a job through you guys and the amazing impact it has had!! The job that mum has received has changed her outlook on everything! She is now much more confident in her self and her abilities....
Welfare Benefits and Health
It is said that power corrupts, but actually it's truer that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power: David Brin
DES providers don't need nor should they have been given the authority to suspend welfare benefits (see above)....
I have spoken previously on, to quote former President Bush, 'the soft bigotry of low expectations' - if you are a member of a marginalised group the public don't expect much and are surprised when anything much is achieved!
I've been in this game for more than 30 years and have been privileged to see literally thousands of terrific men and women leave NOVA To gain (and retain) great jobs....