As we start the new year with many parts of Australia still in the grip of a brutal drought and now dealing with the ongoing threat of an unprecedented bushfire season, many communities, families and individuals will be wondering what the year ahead has in store for them. Over the last 10 years, global issues like climate change, conflict, inequality and poverty continue to affect our lives and our sense of personal responsibility. Our employees see the consequences of some of these issues every day as they impact Australians across the country.
Inequality shows its face in various forms; in the lack of opportunity in regional communities, in the fight for inclusion when hiring people with disability and the challenge of others accepting your own identity. Poverty and homelessness create huge disadvantage and are situations people struggle to come back from.
It’s rare that one of these issues comes in isolation. There are often multiple factors at play and the growth of a global chronic health crisis almost guarantees that disadvantage comes coupled with a health concern. A rise in noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, as well as an increase in mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression, means the picture for an individual is more complicated.
As we look to the future of health and human services, preparation is key. The challenges people face will become more complex. Factors outside our control will continue to have an impact on our lives. The availability of the right combination of support is more important than ever - support that considers the individual, is flexible to their needs and that takes responsibility for making a difference.
While the following stories are a retrospective look at the year that was, we are already looking ahead and thinking about what we can do differently. What could we do better? How can we best support our customers, when and where they need it?
As we strive to constantly improve we need to continue to find ways to hear the many different voices of the people we work with and for, as they too look for answers in a changing world.
We are committed to giving even more people every chance at living the life they want and deserve.
The bushfire emergency that began in 2019, severely impacted many of the MAX offices in New South Wales.
Offices in Batemans Bay, Bega and Narooma, and outreach sites at Merimbula, Moruya and Eden, and our training site at Nowra, were forced to close their doors due to the extreme conditions.
The Australian Government also took the decision to suspend the mutual obligation requirements for customers affected by the bushfires.
While it wasn’t business as usual at those sites, we were pleased to be able to reopen our offices to offer affected residents access to our phones, computers and facilities until full power and communications was restored.
Every person who walks through our doors is an opportunity to make a difference. Our employment, health and training supports, delivered within local communities, provide important support to individuals and families.
We work across Australia with employers, community partners, support organisations and our customers. By working together, we help people see a different future for themselves.
We are proud to live in and be part of the communities we serve in every state and territory in Australia.
Our sphere of influence extends far and wide across the country. We have more than 1,600 employees spread over more than 250 locations, including outreach locations in every state and territory.
Our core business is helping customers develop the skills they need to find sustainable employment, no matter their background or circumstance. We build capacity and empower people to make life choices to improve their lives. We achieve this through the provision of employment, training and health support services through Australian Government funded programs.
As part of MAXIMUS Worldwide, we combine local knowledge and connection with global best practice to deliver high quality services to the most vulnerable people in society.
At MAX, we believe every person has the right to opportunity
Our team has a passion for helping people. We work hard to improve our customers’ prospects and provide a meaningful pathway to further training or employment
|Program Name||Regions Delivered|
|Jobactive (including Work for the Dole)||National|
|Disability Employment Services : Employment Support Service (ESS) and Disability Management Service (DMS)||National|
|National Work Experience Program||National|
|ParentsNext||Bankstown, Blacktown, Mount Druitt, Parramatta, Penrith, Windsor, Gosford, Woy Woy, Wyong NSW|
|Smart Skilled and Hired Youth Employment Program||Western Sydney NSW|
|Housing Employment Program||Bundaberg, Ipswich, Capalaba QLD|
|Borallon Training and Correctional Centre Program||Borallon QLD|
|Time to Work Employment Service (TWES)||Risdon Prison TAS, Brisbane Correctional Centre, Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre and Borallon Correctional Centre in QLD|
|Opportunities Pathways Program||Northern Sydney, Sydney and South East Sydney, NSW|
|School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES)||TAS, ACT, NSW, QLD|
|Gippsland Employment Facilitator Services||Gippsland VIC|
|Jobs Victoria - Workers in Transition Program||Gippsland and Metropolitan VIC|
|Youth Cadetship Scheme Career Transition Support Program||Melbourne CBD|
|Transition Services Panel (TSP)||Adelaide SA, Melbourne VIC, North QLD, TAS|
|Community Development Program (CDP) (formerly Remote Jobs and Communities Program)||WA, QLD Until June 2019|
|Jobs, Land and Economy Programme (JLEP) (formerly Indigenous Youth Careers Pathways)||Cairns and Townsville QLD, TAS Until June 2019|
|Adult Migrant Education Program (AMEP)||ACT, NSW, TAS|
|Skills for Education and Employment (SEE)||ACT, NSW, VIC, QLD, SA, WA, TAS|
|User Choice QLD||QLD|
|Certificate 3 Guarantee QLD (Pre-Qualified Supplier)||QLD|
|Skilled Capital ACT||ACT|
|ACT Government User Choice||ACT|
|Employee Assistance Program (EAP)||National|
|Intelligence and Security Group Psychological Assessment for Security Clearances||National|
|ADF Transition Centres||Wagga Wagga, Albury, Sydney and Williamstown NSW, Brisbane and Amberly QLD, Darwin NT, Melbourne VIC, Stirling WA Until June 2019|
|National Panel of Assessors (NPA)||National|
|Program for Students with Disability Assessment Services (PSD)||VIC|
|Child Welfare Assessments||NSW, SA, QLD, VIC|
Led by Managing Director Deborah Homewood, the Executive Team at MAX Solutions is passionate about the needs of customers, and delivering high-quality services.
The team has extensive experience in the human services sector, with expertise in program management, quality and compliance, social policy development, change management, workforce development, government relations, service delivery and technology.
Chief Operating Officer
Quality, Performance and Analytics
Executive Board – chaired by the Managing Director with Executive Management representation from all corporate areas, this is the key decision-making forum within the business.
Audit and Risk Committee – Comprises executive team members and other senior Finance and Quality representatives. This committee oversees the internal control systems, risk management systems, the internal and external audit functions and taxation and reporting compliance.
Digital Steering Committee – representation from senior management for Technology, Operations, Marketing, Customer Service Delivery, Finance and Program Management and chaired by Executive Management. This committee makes strategic decisions with regards to digital customer facing initiatives and projects.
Chaired by Sean Gordon, the IAC is made up of Indigenous employees from across the business and provides advice and guidance on Indigenous engagement and development of the organisation’s Reconciliation Action Plan. The IAC Chair and Leadership Group is also part of the Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group.
Our employment services focus on placing customers at the heart of everything we do. We work with people from all walks of life: parents, refugees, people with disability, career-changers or those facing redundancy.
Last year, we achieved increases in ‘brokered’ job placements. These are placements we find for customers as a direct result of our relationships with major employers such as Collins Foods, AMA Group Solutions and Compass Group Australia.
We also achieved strong employment outcomes in trials and small programs where cohort-specific services are tailored to individuals.
Over the course of the year in jobactive, we were able to find 42,000 people work.
We also helped 4,436 customers in our Disability Management Service and 3,223 in the Employment Support Service, to find sustainable work.
In the Australian Government’s September 2019 star ratings, MAX achieved 5 stars, the highest possible rating, in 32 sites – with most of our offices (89%) attaining 3 stars or higher.
As we look towards a more digitally-focused future, and impending changes to employment services, we are delivering innovation. The business has invested heavily in technological improvements and red tape reduction strategies to allow us to spend up more time with our customers. We have also participated in many pioneering trials and pilots around the country.
We embraced the Australian Government’s Regional Employment Trials in Queensland’s Fraser Coast. This program encourages industry to partner with the community to invest in people who have not worked in a long time to enable them to re-enter the workforce.
In the Fraser Coast region, employers reported that job applications were not meeting the skills demands of the region. We partnered with Fraser Coast Regional Council to develop projects that provided specific training in those skills to address the skills gap and put more people into work.
In Cherbourg, the Safe Communities project was established by the local council to improve safety, reduce crime and build a stronger, more equitable community. MAX worked with partners to develop the local security industry.
We supported 15 people to complete a Certificate III in Security Operations, pre-employment literacy and numeracy training, and they are moving into paid employment with Kingaroy Security and Traffic Control.
Our customers are now able to work in the community to identify any potential dangers, work with police to report incidents and support women and children to get to a safe place – which benefits the entire community
Women over 50 can be hampered by unfair stereotypes about their abilities, and their role in society. From experience, we know age discrimination can be particularly acute among older women who are more likely to be viewed as having outdated skills after a long absence from work caring for children or looking after dependents. In South-East Melbourne, this demographic accounts for nearly a third of our jobactive and DES caseloads, and the number is growing.
In response, MAX launched Reshape Your Future, a six-week program designed to increase self-esteem, stabilise the living situation and secure work. By bringing together health and wellbeing sessions, digital literacy training and introductions to employers in a holistic way, we achieved a 93% customer attendance rate – with customers reporting an increase in social connectedness, confidence and self-esteem.
In Liverpool and Newcastle, we trialled a new case management format with the aim of increasing the level of support to jobactive customers who are deemed to be ‘Stream C.’
Stream C customers may have multiple barriers to employment such as: mental health issues, homelessness, lack of experience or care obligations. In both trials, we improved the ratio of customers to consultant, which allowed for more time to be spent with people building stronger relationships and gaining a deeper insight into their needs. In Newcastle, we achieved every placement target for six months in a row, and in Liverpool we saw a 40% improvement across all metrics.
As a Registered Training Organisation, we provide the foundation to empower people to take advantage of future opportunities.
Our health teams support the work we do across MAX in different employment, training and assessment programs.
Empowering people with skills
Improving training pathways and building up the local skilled workforce for primary industries, tourism and business is on our agenda. Choosing to study can put students firmly on the path to more sustainable work opportunities.
We customise learning to the different needs of each student – from short courses that develop confidence to learning English, numeracy or digital literacy skills.
Our ability to link skills and qualifications directly to employment opportunities is the value-add for our students.
Training for growth industries
Health care and social assistance is Australia’s largest and fastest-growing industry. It is projected to have the strongest employment growth of any industry until 2023. For people with the right skills, there are opportunities right now.
Our training team can help customers who want to pursue health care careers by offering Certificate III courses in Individual Support (Ageing, Home and Community, and Disability), and Community Services. The courses are nationally-recognised training qualifications giving students the skills and knowledge
to gain employment in disability support services and the social services sector.
Training is conducted via CANVAS, our new online learning management system - meaning students have the freedom to learn flexibly, at times that suit them. Our training team provides support every step of the way, ensuring students have the best chance of completing the course.
Our health teams support the work we do across MAX in different employment, training and assessment programs.
MAX has 80 health professionals, including psychologists, exercise physiologists, occupational therapists, social workers, speech pathologists and counsellors.
We also employ 250-plus allied health contractors including: nurses, physiotherapists and rehabilitation counsellors.
This resource provides a variety of support depending on the customer’s need, including interventions, assessments and helplines.
In 2019, we provided services to over 22,000 customers.
Our health teams offer face-to-face allied health support to customers across many of our metropolitan and regional centres.
A phone-based service is also available for those in need of after-hours support.
To enhance these services, we launched a trial using a video-based platform which requires an internet connection.
This means we can offer customers greater flexibility and access to health services, no matter their location.
Addiction and Mental Health, Brisbane
In Brisbane, we work with Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services to provide a tailored employment service on-site at their clinics.
The initiative is offered at Inala, Woollongabba and Bayside, providing a convenient, on-site service for our customers who are also receiving support from the health service.
This method of operating reduces the impact on people’s lives such as travel times. It also ensures we can work closely with customers’ care workers to better understand their health challenges – and ensure job plans consider those needs.
Aged care in Albany
Albany has a small population spread across a large geographical area. Despite the prevalence of the hospitality and agriculture industries, it can be challenging for local people to find entry-level work.
One industry that has huge growth potential is aged care – BaptistCare is one of WA’s largest providers of residential and home care services.
MAX has partnered with BaptistCare and local training provider ATC to provide an end-to-end service. A complete training package is offered to customers that combines a qualification in Individual Support with key skills for the job such as First Aid, manual handling and distribution of medication.
We were pleased to be able to find vocational placements for 11 customers comprising parents returning to work and school leavers.
Partnerships in Kalgoorlie
As a result of our partnership with MinAnalytical, a mineral laboratory in WA, we helped 10 customers into placements. Seven of those have settled into work long-term. We have had a higher success rate of referral to interview and the employer is now using this work trial as a preferred method of recruitment over traditional interviews.
Department of Justice
We work closely with Kalgoorlie Regional Prison in partnership with the Job Club program to deliver work-ready programs to prisoners, assisting them in transition from prison to employment. The key skills people learn are: preparing for employment, resumé writing and cover letters.
We also partner in the delivery of the Employment Expo held twice a year at the prison. This provides people with access to a range of providers linked to employment pathways and opportunities.
Vocational Intervention Program in New South Wales
In four regions of New South Wales – Greater Sydney, Northern New South Wales, Hunter and the Illawarra - we partner with the NSW Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program to deliver Disability Employment Services to people with an acquired brain injury.
The goal is to help more people with an acquired brain injury back to work and increase our capacity to tailor our offering to achieve better outcomes for these individuals. The program has the support of peak body Brain Injury Australia, which helps us continuously improve our services and provides feedback on business improvements.