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Andrew Coleman (pictured) went from participant to site supervisor. Photo taken by Wesley Mission Brisbane.
Andrew Coleman went from participant to site supervisor. Photo: Wesley Mission Brisbane.

Plugging into employment

Wesley Mission Brisbane is assisting jobseekers through a social enterprise which gives them the skills to find employment. Jessica Mewburn writes.

Rewired IT, an e-waste recycling business, is a new addition to Wesley Mission Brisbane’s employment services area.

Set up late last year, thanks to a Federal Government grant, the Australian Disability Enterprise is recycling computers that would otherwise go to landfill, providing affordable computer equipment for the community and plugging people back into employment.

The operation runs in three sites across south-east Queensland, servicing the Brisbane, Gold Coast and Logan areas.

Program Coordinator Dave Stern says the program is a social enterprise with a focus on serving the community.

“We repair and recycle perfectly good computers and sell them back to the community for an affordable price. We also support local job seekers going through the Work for the Dole Program and provide employment opportunities to people living with a disability.

“It’s a fantastic business model. We’re giving people an affordable option for a second household computer while helping the environment and job seekers,” says Dave.

The program works closely with job agency Max Employment to engage people on the Work for the Dole program and has the capacity to take 15 participants a day on each site.

Along with gaining invaluable IT skills by refurbishing the computers, Dave is passionate about helping his job seekers to leave the program job-ready. He has set the program up to give participants the opportunity to learn new skills in customer service, business operations, career advice, résumé development and job searching.

“The goals are different for all of our participants; for some people it might be getting back into the routine of getting up in time to get to a job and sustain it. For another young guy it was about educating him on basic IT skills—he didn’t realise he could access his emails wherever he was and we were able to walk him through that process,” says Dave.

“We’ve already had great success stories and many people only stay with us for a short time before they’ve been able to re-enter the workforce, which is a great outcome.”


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