Release type: Media Release

Date:

$41m Innovation Fund to boost services for job seekers

The Minister for Employment Services has released guidelines for a $41 million fund which will develop innovative projects to find better ways to help disadvantaged Australians get jobs.

The new Innovation Fund is part of the Australian Government’s $3.9 billion employment services system, which begins on 1 July 2009.

“Innovation is critical to improving our services. The inflexible ‘one size fits all’ approach of the previous system does previous system does not meet the needs of a modern economy in a dynamic environment,” Mr O’Connor said.

“We want to encourage the development of innovative employment projects, big and small, to find better ways of connecting disadvantaged job seekers with training and work opportunities.”

Projects will focus on helping disadvantaged job seekers including people with mental health conditions, the homeless or those at risk of homelessness, and people from jobless families or who are living in areas of entrenched disadvantage.

Projects could also include:

  • Joining employment services with health providers, drug and alcohol programs, schools, cultural organisations, local government other services;
  • Linking disadvantaged job seekers with areas of skill shortage;
  • Establishing social enterprises.

“The new Innovation Fund will provide opportunities to trial new solutions that offer fresh ways and alternative thinking, to overcome the barriers to employment faced by the most disadvantaged job seekers,” Mr O’Connor said.

“Strong working partnerships between employment services and other relevant organisations are a key feature of the Fund, and anything learnt from these successful projects will be shared to help improve service delivery.” Organisations will be selected to be part of Innovation Fund Panel, and invited to propose their ideas for new projects. The panel members will be announced early next year.

The new guidelines for the Innovation Fund are available at www.workplace.gov.au/ESreview.