Place Category: Employment
Founded by WISE Employment Australia in 2008, WISE Ability is committed to providing quality employment services to disadvantaged members of the community through a range of initiatives. Our main purpose is to serve and enrich the lives of disadvantaged job seekers in the community.
We believe employment brings growth and personal development. With increasing self-esteem and confidence people develop the ability to transform their lives. They feel more connected to the community through their contribution and the chance to interact with others in the workplace. WISE Ability also believes the community is enriched when a person is employed. We all benefit from the greater productivity and the improved social harmony that results from disadvantaged people finding fulfilling employment.
WISE Ability was founded by one of Australia’s leading charity employment services, WISE Employment, which has been guiding and inspiring people of all abilities in their search for work since 1992. WISE Employment provides specialist employment services with 25 branches across the states of Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. It is one of the leading specialist employment services in Australia, providing assistance to over 18,000 customers a year under the Australian Disability Employment Services and Job Services Australia. WISE Employment also operates three social enterprises that provide employment for highly disadvantaged people in Australia, and contributes to the community by using its surplus to invest in initiatives that support the most marginalised members of the community.
As holders of the Social Enterprise Mark, WISE Ability takes a progressive approach to supporting the most marginalised members of our community. As a not-for-profit organisation we invest surplus funds into innovative projects and programmes that benefit the most marginalised and under-supported members of our community.
Social Impact Statements:
Social Impact Statements
The Social Enterprise Mark criteria includes a requirement that the applicant can demonstrate that social and/or environmental objectives are being achieved.
In support of this, new applicants and renewing Mark holders must submit Social Impact Statements that summarise their headline activities and achievements, helping show how they are striving to make a difference and stand up to scrutiny of purpose as a social enterprise.
1) Focus of our work
WISE Ability's every endeavour is towards improving the lives of the most disadvantaged members of the community through employment and support services. WISE Ability supports an extensive and diverse base of over 6,000 customers annually, enabling them to reach their employment goals through programmes which include the Work Programme, Work Choice, and ESF Families with Multiple Problems.
WISE Ability's support is targeted towards people with disability and disadvantage inclusive of priority needs groups. These groups consist of:
- young people aged 24 or under;
- customers aged 45 years and over;
- lone parents;
- carers; and ex-offenders
Our inclusive and accessible service supports people across all disability profiles such as mental illness, physical disability, learning disability, neurological, hearing, vision, acquired brain injury, and speech.
In accordance with our mission, WISE Ability operates in some of England's lowest socio-economic status regions, such as Yorkshire and the Humber, the North West, North East, and North Lincolnshire. The North East has one of the highest levels of unemployment nationally, followed by Yorkshire and the Humber (Office for National Statistics 2014, ONS). To serve the needs of the highest proportion of unemployed people looking for work, WISE Ability has established offices in Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster, Barnsley, Wigan, Scunthorpe and Grimsby.
Within this socioeconomic environment of contracting business investment, rising unemployment, and lower standards of living, many of our customers present at our services with multiple significant and complex non-vocational and vocational barriers to employment and social inclusion.
2) Our programmes
Work Choice Specialist Disability Employment Programme
Since 2011, WISE Ability has delivered the Work Choice Specialist Disability Employment Programme in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions. WISE Ability Work Choice assists over 100 people at any one time who have significant health conditions as well as those impacted by diagnosed or undiagnosed disability. Programme eligibility includes the potential to work at least 16 hours per week within six months of commencing the programme with WISE Ability.
It's Ability, not disability that counts. Therefore, our staff follow a strengths based approach, emphasising the power of having a disability or long-term health issue which can result in developing important life skills. For example, customers are able to challenge imposed limitations, and persevere, adapt, and thrive in a range of situations, which can include employment.
This year WISE Ability Work Choice has been instrumental to customers with disabilities, helping them to successfully achieve their career goals of safe sustainable employment and self-sufficiency.
ESF Families Programme
The ESF Families programme focuses on providing a whole family approach when supporting troubled families with multiple problems, such as inter-generational unemployment and lack of qualifications.
Through this programme WISE Ability assists over 1,700 people at any one time through responsive outreach and case management lead services, aided by multiple stakeholders including schools, probation services, housing services, and doctors. This combined response helped reduce the many complex psychosocial, justice, and employability issues experienced by our customers. WISE Ability ESF Families programme has operated since 2011 in Rotherham and Barnsley in South Yorkshire, since 2013 in Grimsby in North East Lincolnshire and Scunthorpe in North Lincolnshire, and since 2013 in Wigan in the North West.
The Work Programme
The Work Programme is the major employment programme commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions in the United Kingdom. All forms of personalised one-on-one assistance through this programme is focused on addressing barriers to ensure our customers secure sustainable employment.
The Work Programme supports customers from two primary out-of-work benefit groups, Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA). JSA is an active benefit for people who are working fewer than 16 hours per week and looking for work and ESA is for people who are unemployed and have a limited capability for work because of their health.
In the delivery of the Work Programme, WISE Ability supports over 2,500 customers at any one time.
3) Our achievements
WISE Ability's continued growth enables us to reach, adequately service, and create meaningful jobs for our customers. In 2015/16, WISE Ability has been acknowledged as a valued service provider by Serco and G4S with an increase in contracts. Serco is a prime contractor in the delivery of Work Programme in South Yorkshire, and G4S is a prime contractor for Work Programme in Wigan in the North West Region.
In order to assist more people who experience disability, long-term injury, or other life disadvantages, we opened new premises and established a local service delivery and management team in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire. This area is characterised by high levels of deprivation (Index of Multiple Deprivation in Lincolnshire, 2010).
This year, our passionate and skilled staff assisted over 1900 customers into work, inclusive of customers with disability, injury, or ill health that required vocational rehabilitation focused employment and individualised assistance through Work Choice. Through employment and training, customers are able to re-connect with their community.
WISE Ability won an ESF Families service expansion in North East and North Lincolnshire as a subcontractor for EOS. Here our staff support highly disadvantaged and long-term unemployed customers, allowing them to achieve self-sufficiency through providing additional assistance relevant to their individual and diverse needs. This service expansion is in recognition of our high standard of performance while delivering ESF Families services across Rotherham and Doncaster for EOS, consistently ranking 1st within the EOS ESF Families supply chain. Consistent with our ethos of targeting the hardest to reach customers, WISE Ability has commenced working with prisoners upon release, helping to motivate, support, and provide positive opportunities.
Through an emerging partnership with Doncaster prison, WISE Ability seeks to be a nexus, helping prisoners re-connect with their community tlnough employment and training. WISE Ability also continues to maintain its partnership in the Special Purpose Vehicle with Shaw Trust, CDG - WISE Ability which manages and delivers a prime Work Choice contract in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Across our service coverage areas, WISE Ability has established partnership arrangements with valuesaligned organisations to ensure collaboration and ongoing communication. This has helped secure commitment to cross-referral collaboration which has been crucial to the success of our programmes.
This year we recruited more staff for their experience, empathy, and employment focused knowledge and skills. From our perspective, our high calibre staff make the difference.