Young woman sitting down at her workplace.

The Jobs Victoria Innovation Fund provides small grants to support new and innovative approaches to employment services.

Grants from $50,000 to $250,000 are available for approved projects submitted by eligible organisations.

Round one successful projects

Grants were awarded to three projects under round one of the Jobs Victoria Innovation Fund:

International Specialised Skills Institute – Jobs Victoria International Fellowships

International Specialised Skills Institute will offer and manage the provision of ten International Fellowships to Jobs Victoria Mentors.

The Jobs Victoria International Fellowships provide an opportunity for practitioners working within Jobs Victoria Partner organisations to investigate and explore international models and approaches that deliver mainstream employment outcomes for jobseekers facing barriers to employment. The outcomes and impact of the research undertaken is designed to advance innovative, best practice and emerging models of delivering employment support. Fellows will share their learnings with other Jobs Victoria Partners, identify new employment service approaches that could be adopted in Victoria, offer an opportunity for networked learning exchange and create value across the sector.

National Disability Services – Ticket to Work and the After School Job

National Disability Services will use evidence based interventions to assist high school students with significant disability to prepare for, gain, and sustain after-school-hours work.

This grant will fund an extension of the Ticket to Work program to assist young people with significant disability into after-school employment.  Research has consistently found that frequent exposure to real work environments for young people with disability not only increases post-school employment outcomes, but significantly lowers absenteeism and dropout rates from school. Ticket to Work has shown that young people with disability are able to thrive in open employment when prepared and supported whilst at school through a coordinated approach.

Specialisterne Centre Australia – Dandelion Program Victoria

Specialisterne Centre Australia will design and operate a program to deliver careers to Victorian autistic adults in a range of industries.

The grant will fund the establishment of a program to identify and deliver job opportunities in one metropolitan and one regional Victorian location. It will focus primarily on medium-sized businesses that would otherwise not have the resources to establish meaningful career paths for Victorian autistic adults who currently experience barriers to employment.

Round two successful projects

Grants were awarded to ten projects under round two of the Jobs Victoria Innovation Fund:

Brite Services – Customised Employment Program

Brite Services will design and pilot a Customised Employment model-based employment support program supporting people with disability in Broadmeadows and Warrnambool.

Brite Services will deliver a pilot program which, through improved knowledge, research and capacity, will seek to improve the capability of Victoria’s employment services sector to support jobseekers facing barriers to employment. Research has shown that the Customised Employment model can improve connections between long-term job seekers and employers in delivering employment outcomes. The model seeks to change existing approaches to addressing long term unemployment from a traditional charity and wage subsidisation approach to one of creating employer demand for workers. This pilot will provide a localised evidence base for systemic change in the employment services system.

Echo Australia and Basketball Victoria – Sportswork

The Sportswork program will leverage employer partnerships in developing inclusive basketball programs to improve engagement and connect jobseekers with disability to employment opportunities.

Sportswork will provide a holistic approach encompassing a sports pathway to work for people with disability. Barriers to employment for people with disability include low education and skills attainment, lack of community networks and work experience and lack of confidence. Research indicates sport and physical activity can help to combat some of these barriers and significantly increase the rate of employment success for people with disability. Sportswork will provide a transition and pathway to employment through individual support and job plans, basketball skills development, leadership and career development and connections to employers.

Fitted for Work – Supporting Transgender Women into Employment

Fitted for Work will develop and deliver a pilot program to assist transwomen to enter the workforce.

Fitted for Work will strengthen its relationships with service providers and employer partners to ensure that transwomen have access to a pilot program that it will develop and deliver to assist this cohort to enter the workforce. Participants will be supported to secure and navigate the world of work through Fitted for Work’s suite of flexible services, which will be tailored and packaged to the particular needs of transwomen. Fitted for Work will also advocate for transwomen through education on the barriers that this cohort faces as they seek work.

Groomed to Go – Opening New Doors

Groomed to Go will deliver support services to unemployed men and transgender clients including dressing services, career workshops and interview preparation. Digital literacy programs will be offered for women over 45.

Groomed to Go will deliver coaching in interview presentations, personalised styling of appropriate clothing for interview and career development workshops. This aims to increase personal preparedness and confidence after a long period of absence from the workplace or no work experience for unemployed clients. Groomed to Go currently provides these services to women and this grant will help to expand this service to men and transgender clients. The program aims to help clients find confidence and assurance about their skills and ability to face a job interview. The program will also offer a digital literacy program aimed at women over 45 to upskill them in digital literacy and computer skills to meet the needs of employers.

headspace Youth Mental Health Foundation – Digital Work and Study: Victorian Partnerships

headspace will create partnerships between Local Learning and Employment Networks, Victorian local headspace Centres and the Digital Work and Study Service to deliver early intervention careers and employment support integrated with clinical care to young people who are experiencing signs of a mental illness.

headspace will offer employment support to young people who are experiencing mental illness and who are currently not in employment or education or who are struggling to maintain engagement in employment or education. One on one support, mock interviews, webinars and clinical intervention will be provided over the phone or through the web, making the service highly accessible for young people in regional areas as well as those with social anxieties. The service will build independence, resilience and self-efficacy in young people to explore, pursue and build networks in their local community.

Holmesglen Institute and Royal Children’s Hospital – An Integrated Practical Placement Program

Holmesglen Institute is partnering with the Royal Children’s Hospital to deliver a pilot program offering structured work placements and training for young people with disability. This project will deliver a comprehensive evaluation of the pilot to facilitate learning and illustrate benefits.

Holmesglen Institute is piloting a newly designed Integrated Practical Placement Program (IPP) in partnership with the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH). IPP consists of a structured work placement and study program for students with learning disability. Students are placed with an employer in partnership with a learning institution to be given the opportunity to develop the required work-related skills with a view to transition students into paid employment at the end of the program. Ten students have been selected to participate in the pilot program at RCH. This project will deliver a comprehensive evaluation of the pilot to facilitate learning and illustrate benefits with a view to support the scaling up of the pilot.

Jesuit Social Services and Victoria Police – Victorian Police and Protective Services Cultural Inclusion Employment Initiative

Jesuit Social Services and Victoria Police will pilot a new employment pathway program for African Australians into the Victorian Police Force as either police officers or protective service officers as well as into other suitable employment opportunities.

Jesuit Social Services will deliver a new employment pathway to support African Australians into employment with Victoria Police. The project will assess the needs of participants and provide the support that they require. The experience of many African Australian people wishing to join Victoria Police is that they encounter significant barriers in the recruitment process related to their lack of Australian work experience and understanding of workplace culture, professional networks and support and specific job readiness. To address this disconnect, a program tailored to the Victoria Police recruitment requirements will provide mentoring and coaching support to participants, and cultural advice to the Victoria Police to enable them to better support new recruits.

Monash University and the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) – Building and Testing Mainstream Employment Pathways for People with Neurological Disability

Monash University and the Transport Accident Commission will collaborate to develop effective pathways for people with an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) to gain and sustain employment in the open employment market.

Monash University will design and deliver a pilot program offering new employment pathways for people with ABI. The pilot will be designed in conjunction with people with ABI who are currently employed.  Research indicates that for those clients who sustain the most significant neurotrauma, 77% are not engaged in paid employment post injury. Only 35% of these people return to any form of paid employment within two years of injury. This project will aim to improve these outcomes by testing both existing and new employment approaches as well as provide evidence and practice guidance on strategies to scale employment opportunities within social insurance, large business and university settings for people with ABI.

Specialisterne Centre Australia – Dandelion Centres Victoria

Specialisterne will establish and operate a series of Dandelion Centres in Victoria which will provide STEM skill Training and Assessment programs for people on the autism spectrum.

Specialisterne will establish Dandelion Centres to run training and employment support programs for up to 100 Victorians on the autism spectrum. This project is based on a highly successful model currently operating in Denmark and Spain. Following successful graduation from the program, participants will have the opportunity to be directly employed by Specialisterne and deployed on assignments in a variety of Victorian community-based organisations and corporate clients or hired directly by these organisations. The program will create a pipeline of employees allowing candidates to be directed to the employment that best suits them.

Westvic Staffing Solutions – Shaping Futures Pilot Program

Westvic Staffing Solutions will deliver the Shaping Futures Pilot Program, an initiative to create school-based employment outcomes for students with disability.

The Shaping Futures Pilot Program will allow students with a disability to maintain engagement with school while undertaking employment in the mainstream workforce. The program will allow students with a disability the chance to develop skills and gain experience whilst completing a formal qualification. Research shows that less than 50 per cent of vocational education and training graduates with a disability were employed after completing their training, compared with over 75% of graduates without a disability. This program will enhance confidence, increase the individual’s chances of attaining Year 12 and of entering employment post-secondary school.