Work for the Dole
Work for the Dole attracts a stigma, purely by its concept and by the fact that it is a compulsory government labour program. This stigma has waned somewhat over the years, however it does still exist and is the biggest hurdle in making the program work successfully. Programs at Fairbridge work well because we treat our participants as one of the many successful groups who contribute to Fairbridge, and they are “our crew” rather than “the work for the dole people”. This concept helps hugely in the participants’ pride in themselves and their work.
The Federal Department of Workplace Relations maintains contact with our programs through monitoring visits to Fairbridge. During their last visit they expressed interest in our success rate throughout our programs, and asked for some numbers of participants who had achieved a successful outcome. Since early 2003 we have a better than 30% success rate, or a total of nineteen young people who have used the programs as a stepping stone and moved on into training programs, traineeships, or part or full time employment. This is a positive percentage rate in supporting long term unemployed young people into fulltime involvement in the community.
At present we have people within Fairbridge, who have used the pathways programs provided through Fairbridge, to enter into our mainstream areas such as full time work in the maintenance area and cleaning, part time or casual work in the catering and kitchen areas, or traineeships both with Alcoa and Fairbridge.
In addition to these good results, is the encouraging news that people are actually asking to be put onto the Fairbridge programs (they are given a choice of all of the various programs running in this region), and others are transferring to Fairbridge from other projects.
Our group are also encouraged to not only complete the job, but to do so to the absolute best of their ability. We are hugely proud of the people who have accepted that hand up, and then gone on to bigger and better things. We are also proud to work in an organisation which continues to bend down and offer that hand up, and no matter how big or busy we get at Fairbridge, we hope we never lose this capacity, because in our opinion it is the most important thing that we do.