The UMS Graffiti removal contract in Sydney employs 38 full time and casual staff. Working in different AM and PM shifts seven days a week, 365 days of the year. A large part of the Contract Manager’s role is to maintain staffing levels to ensure the successful delivery of the contract’s specifications for the client.
The ongoing need for staff along with a sense of social responsibility has led to UMS successfully employing staff from a number of specialist employment agencies. Such as MAX Employment. Max Employment focuses on finding employment for long term unemployed mature candidates with learning difficulties.
When approached by Disability Services Australia (DSA), UMS felt there was an opportunity to provide work experience for young candidates. These candidates had just finished their schooling and were participating in the Transition to Work Program.
Transition to Work is a two year State Government funded program that aims to develop the participants work readiness skills. Clients participate in sessions on communication, prevocational skills, personal development and interview skills. The main outcome is to assist all participants to find employment and maintain that employment.
In keeping with UMS values, four candidates were trained to work safely within a team. They followed instructions and were communicative with their co-workers and management. The positive outcome of the work experience led to moves being made to employ them with UMS on a casual basis (as part of the Smart Pole cleaning team).
On the 27th July, DSA celebrated their Annual Employee Achievement Awards at the Bankstown Sports Club. The Awards Day is a great opportunity to recognise the important contribution made by people with a disability in the Australian workforce.
Contract Manager Dominic Walsh was invited to attend. He was delighted when it was announced that UMS had been awarded the prize for Employer of the Year, 2017.
The award was presented by the Assistant Minister for Disability Services, Jane Prentice MP while the CEO of Disability Services Australia, Mark Spurr gave a brief speech:
“The success of DSA’s work readiness program is of course dependant largely on the progressive Employers who engage with the program. And I say progressive because they recognise and create the wonderful social and economic benefits that arise at the individual, organisational and societal level through the employment of people with a disability.
The winner of the award this year is Urban Maintenance Systems, who are a provider of facilities and infrastructure management services. UMS Contract Manager Dominic Walsh has employed four jobseekers from our Mascot site, and offered work placement for another two in their graffiti and poster removal department”.
DSA staff first approached UMS about hosting some jobseekers in work experience and Dominic was quick to offer work placements. Within a few months Dominic had held work experience for five jobseekers, offering paid employment to three.
The team at UMS are incredibly inclusive, particularly Dominic. He was patient and understanding at the beginning allowing for some days off due to anxiety, and offered slower start for those who required it. Once they had worked for a few weeks he was conscious to expect exactly what he would anyone else.
Dominic and the team at UMS are empowering our jobseekers to become independent workers. Their thoughtfulness, patience and inclusive approach make them worthy winners of this year’s TTW Employer of the Year award.