By Alyssa Bennett, COO

It’s hard to think of another time in recent history when our lives have been so disrupted. 2020 has brought so many challenges – bushfires, pandemics, social unrest – that it's becoming difficult to predict what’s next! COVID-19, in particular, has hammered our economy, which has been felt by millions of Australians.

At a time like this, VERTO’s Employment Services team faces the challenge of a surge in demand. Our team is focused on delivering federal government funded programs that connect job seekers and employers, and none of these is more important right now than jobactive.

A program for both job seekers and employers

Jobactive helps those out of work get back into the workforce, and it's a service that benefits both job seekers and employers.

For job seekers, jobactive provides a range of support tools, such as resume writing support and access to reskilling and training opportunities to increase employability. In addition, the program helps participants with interview preparation assistance and provides ongoing support for the first six months after an individual finds employment.

For employers, the program provides screened and job ready candidates for a variety of roles. We can help with pre-employment training and access to tools and equipment, as the job requires. Most importantly, the program provides ongoing support for employers for the first six months after they hire a jobactive candidate.

Positive signs in a tough market

At VERTO, we are seeing the challenges of more than one million Australians being left without work first-hand. We have experienced a 40 per cent increase in requests for support from job seekers looking to find work, at a time when there has also been a significant drop off in the number of positions available.

There are some positive signs, however. While some industries are understandably suffering, others are seeing growth; think supermarkets, transport and finance for example. We’ve focused resources on ensuring that we provide opportunities in these sectors to our jobactive clients wherever possible.

In these unprecedented times, when so many people are losing employment, in many cases for the first time in their working lives, it requires extra effort to ensure people are supported. The Federal Government is assisting by removing certain parameters in the short term, including the mutual obligation provision, which reduces the pressure on job seekers.

VERTO, along with other employment service providers, has also had to change focus. We are providing a much greater degree of flexibility and a deeper level of support for some often very vulnerable individuals. It's something we place a great deal of importance on and are incredibly proud to be a part of.

Critical success factors

Our approach at VERTO has led to a great deal of success in delivering for our jobactive clients on both sides of the equation. For me, that comes down to two key factors, and for anyone finding themselves in this position, they are factors you must consider when working with your provider.

 Firstly, our focus on understanding our individual clients has been key to the success of our program. Our consultants take the time to really understand our job seeker and employer requirements at an individual level through a series of one-on-one consultations. This allows our team to tailor their approach to each specific situation. There will always be a number of vocational and non-vocational issues that our jobactive clients will face, and we strive to understand these at a deeper level, so we are in a strong position to help.

Secondly, VERTO has taken a very localised approach: We have offices in each location we service and local employees that work there. That means our team knows the local labour market and has relationships with the key employers and stakeholders. These connections help us uncover opportunities that others will miss. Personal and professional relationships can often intertwine in regional areas, and our network is a huge positive for our clients.

 Check the star ratings

Another useful feature of the jobactive program is the star ratings system. This is a government review process that is independently applied to rating the performance of each provider by location. It is a great way of assessing a provider’s long-term impact and can help you compare, and find the best and most successful providers in your area.

Sites are scored on a 1-5 scale, with one star the lowest and five the highest. A three star rating is considered the benchmark average, so those sites who are achieving a higher star rating can be considered above average in their service and outcomes.

I am extremely proud to say that VERTO rates particularly well. We have a number of sites, including Lithgow, Cowra and Mudgee, that are five star rated and many more in the above average range. These ratings are the highest in the Central West Employment Region. The full list of ratings is available here.

While it may be a challenging period, I’m proud to say that our organisation is at the forefront of helping Australians back into work as soon as possible. If you're looking for work, visit www.verto.org.au to find out how we can help you prepare for what's next.