WISE Ways to Work launches the Good EGG (Employment Generation Group) program to help more people who have mental health problems into work
The Employment Generation Group (EGG): helping more people who have mental health problems find work
WISE Ways to Work, a program assisting job seekers with mental health problems to build key skills for work, is building its network of partner employers through the development of its Employment Generation Group, (EGG). We are looking for ‘Good EGG Employers’ who will commit to helping Victorians excluded from work to gain and maintain employment. WISE Ways to Work is looking for opportunities for work experience as well as part-time employment for participants.
Many workplaces have become more complex in recent decades as off shoring, multi-skilling, and automation have removed many unskilled and semi-skilled jobs. WISE Ways to Work will work with interested Good EGG employers to identify and create more accessible part-time positions for people looking to start work in more entry-level positions, creating ‘sunny side up’ workplaces for all employees.
The inaugural Good EGG breakfast on 20 November 2019 was the first of many and will introduce the program to local employers interested in getting support to make Victorian workplaces more accessible to all Victorians.
What is WISE Ways to Work, and how does it help people who have mental illness?
WISE Ways to Work is a WISE Employment program based in North Melbourne. The program assists job seekers with mental health problems to build key skills for work. WISE Ways to Work’s vocational coaches support participants to prepare for work and help identify suitable opportunities to pursue.
Critical to the success of the project is a network of partner employers who, with support from WISE Ways to Work, commit to helping achieve employment for this group. 70 participants have engaged with the program with 26 in employment and 24 involved in the pre-employment work orientation activities.
The WISE Ways to Work occupational therapists and vocational coaches work with employers to identify and adapt part time positions and provide training in best practice mental health workplace support. The two-year pilot has been very successful with positive results in terms of skills development, employment and community engagement.
WISE Ways to Work was recently successful in securing a grant from the NDIS Community Inclusion Capacity Development Program to build the capacity of local employers to provide supportive employment and training opportunities for Victorians facing barriers to work as a result of mental illness.
How does the WISE Ways to Work program work?
All participants start with WISE’s six-month vocational rehabilitation program, Employ Your Mind, which helps build skills and confidence. The health management Optimal Health Program (OHP) is an 8-week complementary program, and helps participants to manage their mental, physical emotional and occupational health.
Participants of the WISE Ways to Work program have a range of skills and competencies and a very high motivation to work. WISE Ways to Work vocational coaches support participants on a graded vocational pathway that builds success at each stage – from the Employ Your Mind and Optimal Health programs through to part-time volunteer work to get exposure to work and ideally on to part time paid employment. Each stage is tailored around the individual with appropriate job matching and support.
Support is provided to the employer. The vocational coaches work with key members of the staff at the employer’s workplace to identify and adapt suitable part time roles for both the volunteering stage and employment.
Training is provided at no cost to the Good EGG employer’s staff in best-practice mental health workplace support, including specialist legal training on best-practice implementation of legislation, relevant to all staff members’ wellbeing at work.
Benefits to Employers
People who have been disadvantaged in their pursuit of work often value having a job more than those who have not experienced the same employment barriers, and make very loyal, committed employees. WISE Ways to Work can provide support to the employer and help customise certain positions to ensure a good job match.
Good EGG Employers will receive training to achieve a high level of mental health workplace support literacy which is important for all staff welfare. One in five people will experience mental ill health at some time in their lives and it is important workplaces know how to respond early and provide support.
Having a job is an important indicator of health and wellbeing, whilst unemployment increases the risk of depression and associated disadvantage. Good EGG Employers demonstrate their commitment to assisting all Australians to work, including those who have experienced barriers to work as a result of their mental health. The broader staff team, who are likely to be more loyal and committed as a result of working for a supportive employer, appreciates this inclusive approach.
The valuable role that work plays in community wellbeing as well as individual health is increasingly recognised by government departments and achieving social as well as commercial outcomes is often required for delivery of government contracts.
Having a diverse workforce that reflects the broader community is a positive approach and often valuable in ensuring the business is being responsive to the community’s needs.
Contact WISE Ways to Work