The Highly Skilled Culturally Diverse (HS CD) Volunteer Utilisation project was titled ‘Skilled Diversity’ to assist in promotional activities and to make it easier to discuss the project, as well as to engender interest in it.
The project’s primary audience was decision makers, such as CEOs, Executive Officers, Managers or Coordinators of Not-for-Profit (NFP) organisations. NFP organisations were the key to the success of this project. By helping NFPs, it was believed that volunteers would also benefit.
The opportunities from this project for HS CD volunteers are to gain a better understanding of the Australian workplace culture, getting assistance in maintaining their skills by making use of their professional capability, improving their communication skills and ultimately being assisted in their transition to the paid workforce.
This project sought to ensure that HS CD volunteers were socially included and could contribute to the organisation that recruited them in a meaningful and rewarding way for both parties. It also provided a source of highly skilled potential employees for Australian business, with their prior learning recognised and certified as work-ready.
A ‘Benefits Kit’, including training and consulting was developed to assist organisations access and utilise HS CD volunteers. This Kit was disseminated via face-to-face training and consulting using a collaborative environment based on the proven model of Bridges Incorporated’s BNA social enterprise collaborative paradigm.
Organisations involved participated in the initial research phase of the project, then in training and implementation of the Benefits Kit. The NFPs underwent mentoring by The Centre and created an internal work environment that provided support for HS CD volunteers and enhanced their job-seeking activities.
Organisations engaged volunteers on their usual contractual basis. The Centre did not enter into this process. Participation in the program was not intended to guarantee transition to paid employment for volunteers. The Centre’s School of Volunteer Management provided Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and Work Ready certification for individual volunteers when requested.
The project has been presented to the Australian general insurance industry with the assistance and facilitation of the Insurance Council of Australia. Volunteers engaged by NFPs participating in the Skilled Diversity project represent a potential pool of skilled employees who have had their employability skills tested and certified by an Australian Registered Training Organisation.
City of Sydney provided financial assistance from the 2009-2010 Community Services Grants program to undertake this project in the City of Sydney local government area (LGA). The Centre entered into a contract with the City of Sydney to undertake this project.
The Community Relations Commission also provided financial assistance from the 2009- 2010 Community Development Grants program.
Download Skilled Diversity Project Report (PDF 4 MB)