[ID Sub 4765] Economic Gardening System (Nicola McKay)

Submission ID: 4765
Contact name: Ms Nicola McKay
State: VIC
Contact email: nicolamckay@optusnet.com.au

About the submitter:
I have a strong social conscience and uniquely qualifying experience in Community Development. Formerly in Employment Services, now Mental Health & CD

Which priority group of the Try, Test and Learn Fund does your idea support?
Young carers, Young parents, Young students at risk of long-term unemployment

What need or issue are you trying to address?
Youth struggling with welfare dependency survive in an environment geared against them. A jobseeker is less likely to feel highly motivated to attain that for which they have low awareness. Being ‘told’ in abstract the benefits of employment, or being threatened with sanctions for not participating is unlikely to alter the real and grounded lived experience of a jobseeker. A carrot cannot inspire when one has never tasted carrot. Additional stick does not work when one is resigned to being beaten. Having no personal investment in an activity makes it almost impossible for jobseekers to care about their input.

The three primary Social Determinants (WHO 2003) are:
– Social Connection
– Economic Access
– Freedom from Violence/Discrimination

These population conditions determine, in large part, individuals’ health and capacity. Using these benchmarks is vital when delivering programs to improve social factors such as welfare dependency. Without strong social and emotional connections (which develop personal investment) and economic access, fulfilling and meaningful participation in education and employment, lasting change is simply unachievable.

Jobseekers perceive a clear message from the current system that they have no value as an individual aside from provision of an outcome for an employment consultant or enabling an employer to gain a subsidy.

What is your idea?
Re-engineer the system with the Social Determinants as design principles ensuring better alignments of the Worker/Entrepreneur/Business/Service & Supports frameworks. Inter-connect Values goals between these frameworks and seek better coordination and cooperation between parts of the broader system to break down silos and build Community.

Pilot an Economic Gardening system (Littleton, Colorado increased jobs by 136% over 15 years) to stimulate local economic growth by supporting entrepreneurial resources.

Engage employment services system (esp. Streams B & C) into the Economic Gardening framework on an opt-in basis with provision for skills development, wealth-sharing and valued participation.

Solicit support from the local business community. Family-run businesses, in particular, have substantial wisdom around bringing young people into the workforce effectively. Local businesses may ‘swap’ employment opportunities for access to the information support within the Economic Gardening framework.

Communicate clearly to jobseekers that the systems are being redesigned to recognise their value as members of Australian society and participants in the national economy.

Welcome the local community into the pilot. It is essential that the whole community is participating, whether as a current employee in a local business, a young person seeking to be part of a new enterprise, families contributing by shopping locally or someone with ideas and enthusiasm, in sustainable development and the opportunity to collectively flourish.

Establish a taskforce encompassing all key stakeholders to review and recommend system re-engineering and implementation assistance.

Enlist the local council and Regional Development bodies to manage the provision support and information services with specific emphasis on incorporating participation with and within community groups, social services, civic pride exercises and the volunteer community.