The community receives employment support at the Westall Community Hub
The Westall Community Hub supports the local community find employment by having a Brotherhood of St Laurence Jobs Victoria Advocate attend weekly.
During regular conversations with the community, Our Place Westall often meets mothers looking to return to the workforce and hears of extended family members seeking assistance to find employment. Acting as the role of ‘the glue’, Our Place connected with Jobs Victoria advocate Nick Salerni, who works on site at Westall Community Hub to provide job seekers guidance and support.
What is a Job Advocate?
Job advocates work closely with job seekers to provide training options, helpful resources and referrals to programs and services that pave the way to employment. Job advocates help people update resumes, prepare for job interviews, and connect people with local employers, apprenticeship programs and job opportunities. Once someone has gained employment, a job advocate also checks in with them to see how they are going and whether they need any additional support in their journey to employment.
Co-location, collaboration and warm referrals
Our Place acknowledges that the community can be hesitant to access services for various reasons, particularly unfamiliar services, and is one of the reasons Our Place works to ensure that warm referrals are undertaken. As warm referrals cannot occur without collaboration, Our Place met with Nick to learn more about the job advocate service and understand the eligibility criteria and how support is provided. They discussed how warm referrals could occur, which often involves Our Place informally introducing Nick to people before they engage with the service.
Informal opportunities to meet with a service before being referred allow people to explore whether the service is right for them. It can also reduce any anxiety around accessing a new service, which can be a barrier for some people seeking assistance. Our Place also helps people make an initial appointment with the service and takes them to show them where the appointment will occur.
Having a job advocate service on site at Westall is also convenient for families, as they can attend an appointment before or after school or kinder drop-off or pickups. Parents and carers also receive opportunities to informally meet with the service during playgroup or when using the library. Having the job advocate service co-located on site with other services at the hub also means that Nick can also warmly refer anyone he is supporting to other on site services.
Aligning with the Our Place Approach
This is one example of the Our Place element of Adult Engagement, Volunteering, Learning and Employment in action, which aims to support opportunities for families to engage in volunteering, formal and informal learning and link them into employment pathways.
As Our Place is not a direct provider of services or programs, our expertise is in building long-term relationships and coordinating the engagement, consultation and data-informed planning that helps to drive innovation, targeted service development and a changed way of working with families and the community.