Work for the Dole participants breathe new life into Hope Garden
Work for the Dole participants have celebrated the unveiling of the renovated Diversitat “Hope Garden” at a graduation ceremony in Geelong last week.
MatchWorks job seekers were among a group of WfD participants who spent the past six months creating a wheelchair-accessible therapy area and new landscape constructs across the established garden.
Friday’s graduation celebrated the group’s hard work.
Diversitat Hub and You Turn Trade supervisors guided participants in the construction of garden boxes, seating areas, paths, screens, a basketball court and building entry.
Participants also learnt propagation and horticultural skills in growing seedlings, taking cuttings, and potting plants and vegetables for the garden.
Diversitat Hub Supervisor Polly Musgrove said the activity created a positive working environment.
“The variety of tasks involved in the project gave us the opportunity to be flexible in making the most of the job seekers’ existing skillsets like carpentry and sewing,” Polly said.
“It felt like a win-win situation because we were getting help, and the job seekers were using their ‘soft skills’ that will assist them in gaining employment.”
You Turn Trade supervisor Stuart Quick said the job seekers’ confidence and skills increased as the program progressed.
“It’s great to see the change happen in people. They come here disenchanted, but you can sit down and have a conversation with them, and really get to know them,” Stuart said.
“They start to relax, and they open up to learning and trying new things. We really appreciate all of the work they have done here.”
Work for the Dole Coordinators guide organisations through the process of setting up an activity and provide ongoing support for hosts once the activity is established.
MatchWorks helped set up the “Hope Garden” activity and has Work for the Dole Coordinator contracts in Bendigo, Barwon, Inner Metropolitan, North East and North Western Melbourne.