A job hero and goal kicker in the employment sector. Has Adelaide got anyone like her? As for JobMaker Hiring Credit Scheme, it’s a monumental fail.
In one year, Vanessa Nieuwenhuizen found work for 150 people in and around Logan, one of Queensland’s unemployment hotspots (around 11 per cent).
As the leader of Spark Employment, a program run through a community organisation known as YFS, Vanessa said there’s so much more to a job application than just filling out a form.
“You’ve got to individualise support according to client needs,” she says. “If someone says, ‘I need support with mental health’, refer them to get that support. If someone says, ‘I’m working on obtaining my driver’s licence’, we look at getting that licence because it’s a barrier.
“If someone says, ‘I’m a mum, I haven’t worked in 10 years’, we look at work preparation, how to dress, childcare — all those things.”
Vanessa said big programs don’t get people jobs. Most people she deals with want to work, but have a hard time getting the help they need. In one case, a 53-year-old woman wanted a job in retail. She had the skills and had handed out resumes but she needed help with her appearance.
“Her biggest barrier was her teeth,” Vanessa said. She worked out how to get government funding so the woman could visit the dentist and then get a job.
Josey is living in a women’s shelter with her two young boys. She has applied for numerous full-time positions over the past six months. She’s not picky.
“I will do anything, I will spit-shine your toilet with a toothbrush,” Josey says. “I don’t want to survive. I want to thrive. I want to show my kids how to do it.”
The government has previously attempted to address youth unemployment, announcing the $4 billion JobMaker Hiring Credit Scheme in last year’s federal budget.
While Treasury estimated it would result in almost half a million jobs for people under 35 by 2023, only 1,045 people have been hired through the program as of April this year.
Josey says multi-million-dollar schemes like these don’t work — at least in her experience.
“These people want to work. Give them a mentor rather than give them another course that they’re going to get sick of and then quit halfway through and then beat themselves up (about it).”
Josey asked several employment service providers for help with getting a job, but she felt they were treating everyone like a number.