ReadyTech recognised for innovation in disability employment services

The National Employment Services Association (NESA) has named ReadyTech business Esher House’s collaboration with WISE Employment as a 2019 Innovation in Disability Employment Award finalist.


Australia’s peak employment services body, the National Employment Services Association (NESA), has named a ReadyTech collaboration with employment services provider WISE Employment as one of Australia’s most innovative programmes in the disability employment services (DES) sector.

ReadyTech business Esher House worked with DES provider WISE Employment over a period of two years to integrate behavioural science-driven participant assessment technology and targeted resilience interventions into its disability employment operations across South Australia.

The programme’s impact on WISE Employment’s operations and the outcomes of jobseeker participants using WISE’s employment services led to NESA naming the initiative as an Innovation in Disability Employment Award finalist ahead of this year’s 2019 NESA Awards for Excellence.

The NESA Innovation in Disability Employment Award recognises those employment service providers, employment organisations or employers who are using innovative service strategies or initiatives to contribute to the employment inclusion of people living with a disability.

Esher House CEO Darren Coppin said the WISE Employment and Esher House collaboration in South Australia was a microcosm of what is possible for employment services in Australia.

“We’re all about building better lives for participants in employment services. Together with WISE Employment, we aimed to demonstrate how behavioural science and data analytic technology can lead to a better understanding of jobseekers that enables case managers to support jobseekers in a very efficient, very person-centric and very human way. This is reflected in the higher outcomes achieved.”

A central challenge faced by DES providers is understanding job seekers and building trust from the beginning, so they can respond to barriers effectively through targeted intervention services and progress the participant into meaningful work. The ability to get this right quickly can literally mean the difference between meaningful employment and the slip into long-term unemployment.

The WISE and Esher House collaboration sought to understand and respond to participant attitudes towards employment, using the latest in behavioural science, predictive analytics and machine learning. In overhauling and innovating WISE’s case management approach, it was able to facilitate a more person-centric, efficient, accurate and human approach to participant support.

Following its success in South Australia, WISE Employment went on to integrate the Esher House into its disability employment services operations Australia-wide. WISE Employment has a total of 139 DES offices across NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

ReadyTech CEO Marc Washbourne said NESA’s recognition for innovation would be welcomed by a ReadyTech team who were all working towards improving employment and education outcomes.

“ReadyTech’s roots are in delivering employment outcomes for job seekers through innovative technology – including those people living with a disability seeking employment through DES. The DES sector is full of people and organisations who are innovating and improving the employment outcomes of people living with a disability, and we’re proud to be named among them this year.”

ReadyTech teams conquer Oxfam Trailwalker

ReadyTech Oxfam Trailwalker

Four teams from ReadyTech hit the trail for the Oxfam Trailwalker in Melbourne in March, working together to raise over $10,000 and overcome all the challenges that come with walking 100kms.

The Oxfam Trailwalker is Australia’s original charity team endurance event. With the aim of raising funds to tackle poverty around the world, it brings together hundreds of teams in Melbourne over two days in March, setting them the significant challenge of walking 100kms for a good cause.

This year ReadyTech entered four teams of four in the Melbourne event. Raising over $10,000 in total, the 16 staff from ReadyTech, JobReady, VETtrak and HR3 who took on the elements (including hail) to participate this year have not only done well to support Oxfam, but have a great story to tell.

So what was it like to walk the walk? We sat down with JobReady’s Brendan Miller for a debrief.

Q&A: Brendan Miller, Customer Experience Officer, JobReady

Brendan Completing Oxfam TrailwalkerWhy did you decide to take on the Oxfam Trailwalker? 

I was initially just doing the training walks with some of the team on weekends for fun. Because of some leave restrictions I had no plans to walk in the actual Melbourne event on the day. When someone from ReadyTech’s Team 4 unfortunately had to drop out ahead of the event, some strings were pulled and I was asked if I wanted to join. Oxfam’s poverty mission is also a cause that meant a lot to those involved from ReadyTech – it’s just a really great charity event to get out and support.

 

How did the ReadyTech teams do?

Everyone did fantastically well – everyone was really determined. Even the people who eventually had to make a decision to drop out put everything they could into it. There were four out of the original 16 that had to retire due to some really rough deals – serious blisters for example. There was one person on my team whose knees literally gave up on him, meaning he had to use his walking poles as crutches for a while. People just put in an amazing effort, and it was a great chance to meet and bond with people from other ReadyTech offices. Together we were able to raise over $10,000. A big thanks to the amazing support team – without them we wouldn’t have been able to get through it.

What were the highlights for you?

Definitely crossing the finish line together with ReadyTech Teams 1, 2 and 4. While Team 3 managed to finish a little quicker than the rest of us, completing that final leg as a larger group was a fantastic feeling. Other than that, there were some harder sections getting to Checkpoint 2 – there were quite a few hills and inclines very early on – and it felt pretty good to get to the top and put those behind us.

What about most challenging moments?

The longest part of the trail was the 19kms between Checkpoints 5 and 6, which we did between 3am and 8am in the morning. It turned out to be really bad rainy weather – so it was dark, cold and with the constant rain absolutely everything was wet, including our shoes and socks. We even had a short burst of hail. Morale was not very high. I personally started listening to music to keep myself sane, and unfortunately, it was at Checkpoint 6 where some of our people needed to retire.

How does walking 100kms actually feel?

It really didn’t feel that long. I guess because you’re awake for it from beginning to end – aside from the short sleep some of us had at Checkpoint 5 – the whole thing goes by really quickly. The worst part was that most of the latter part of the route was concrete – a lot of walkways and tarmac, rather than the bush we had at the beginning. It really ruins the feeling in your feet – it makes everything numb. I managed to finish without any blisters and my muscles weren’t too sore. I live about 3kms away from the office, and although it was only two days after the event, I walked to work on Monday morning!

The big question: would you ever do it again?

Yes! I’d definitely think about doing the Sydney Oxfam Trailwalker. Apparently it’s the hardest route out of the three events in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, so I’d be keen to give it a try. Hopefully for that we’ll be able to another group of ReadyTech teams together!