Work for the Dole program kicks off with first participant

Meals on Wheels Mt Gambier has partnered with IntoJobs to host participants in the new Work for the Dole program, which has just seen its first placement.

50-year-old Thomas Mackie started volunteer work at Meals on Wheels Mt Gambier in late November through the Work for the Dole program after a period of long term unemployment. The crew is already rapt with his contribution; “Thomas has impressed the host by showing up on time, wearing the appropriate PPE, assisting in the kitchen, and preparing meals for the local community,” Work for the Dole coordinator Fiona Patterson said.

“He even volunteered on a day he wasn’t scheduled as they were short on volunteers due to a breakout of Covid”, Jo from Meals on Wheels said. “Thomas was proving to be an asset and very dependable. Thomas is really enjoying the tasks at Meals on Wheels and the company of the other volunteers. He said everyone was very friendly.”

Delivered by IntoJobs in Darwin, Alice Springs, Fitzroy, Mackay, Murray South East, South East Melbourne and Peninsula, the Work for the Dole program gives participants the opportunity to develop new skills, demonstrate existing capabilities, and contribute to their local community by volunteering at local non-for-profit organisations on their journey to find secure work.

Participants are able to earn points toward their monthly Points Based Activation System target and can continue to receive income support and assistance from IntoJobs while undertaking Work for the Dole activities.

Fiona said that through volunteering, participants can get valuable work experience, develop core skills such as teamwork, planning, organising and problem-solving, gain qualifications and licences, and network with their local community.

“My catchphrase is ‘Work for the Dole is not a punishment’, it’s the ultimate giving back to the community. Volunteering can give people a bit of direction and it’s something they can put on a resume. If they have a gap in employment, they can say they did volunteering during that time, and our hosts will also act as a reference for them,” she said.

Thomas’s Mobile Employment Consultant Heather Ryan said Tom is looking at going into disability care. “He has been has done a lot of study and recently completed his Certificate III in Individual Support, and is about to do his placement hours the he already has lined up,” she said.

“He is a lovely person and we all really like him. He has mentioned on more than one occasion that he really enjoys the crew and the work at Meals on Wheels. He is cooking soup and general kitchen duties. He has told them he is available whenever they need him.”

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