Mr Geoff Revill from UnitingCare to chair session on services to address long-term joblessness in Australia

Concurrent Session Chair: Mr Geoff Revill, Manager, Building Family Opportunities Program, UnitingCare Wesley Port Adelaide

Concurrent Session Time: Tuesday 10 November, 9.00am – 9.30am

Abstract: ‘Whole of Family’ considerations in design and delivery of services to address long-term joblessness in Australia

ABS Labour Force data for June 2015* recorded 183,274 Australians as being unemployed for over 52 weeks, almost half of whom (88,980) have been unemployed for more than 2 years.

Numerous government and non-government reports, studies and surveys confirm that people experiencing long-term joblessness face a range of vocational and non-vocational barriers to gaining work.

For members of families experiencing long-term unemployment, the range of non-vocational barriers they experience can often become entrenched and increasingly complex over time.   This often impacts negatively on the capacity of job seekers to prepare for, gain and sustain work; the level and quality of participation by children in education; and the engagement of family members with society more generally. These factors often combine to result in families experiencing inter-generational unemployment and ongoing social dislocation.

This has prompted a service approach for addressing long-term unemployment within families which involves enabling ‘whole of families’ to build their capacity to better manage issues related to complex participation barriers. Rather than address one family member’s barriers in isolation, positive service engagement and collaboration with the ‘whole of family’ is undertaken. The aim is to create an enabling family environment that better supports family members who are seeking to participate in education, training and work.

This paper shares the experiences of an organisation in its delivery of a South Australian Government funded ‘whole of family’ employment program with over 350 families during the past five and a half years.

In so doing, it demonstrates how a service continuum  that can successfully link  ‘whole of family’ services/ programs  can create a  more sustainable pathway from very long term joblessness and social dislocation to positive social engagement which includes education, training and employment. * ABS 6291.0.55.001 Table 14B Unemployed persons by Duration of unemployment and Sex – Trend, Seasonally adjusted, Original

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