GROW Bendigo (Growing Regional Opportunities for Work) recently celebrated the success of a program – that brought together Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services (LCMS) and Spotless – to create a pathway for 27 people from Bendigo’s culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community to find employment, in just over a year since the program began.
GROW Bendigo is a program delivered under the guidance and support of Be.Bendigo and funded by the State Government.
Spotless, part of the Downer Group and the Bendigo Health Facilities Service Delivery Partner, employs over 500 people in the Bendigo community. Being a large employer in Bendigo, Spotless saw the opportunity to take a new and fresh approach to creating sustainable employment opportunities for the community.
Since May 2021, candidates of both Karen and South Sudanese backgrounds have undertaken a brand-new three-week pre-employment program, designed to engage with candidates within a culturally suitable framework, to effectively on-board and place them in long-term positions. This included a training and education program for applicants before they apply and a fresh approach to the traditional interview and recruitment processes.
“The LCMS/Spotless partnership is prime example of exactly what GROW Bendigo aims to achieve and it has been thrilling to see how bringing these two organisations together has delivered mutually beneficial results from both a social and business perspective ,” explained Petra McLoughlin, GROW Project Manager.
Ben Dillon, Spotless Operations and Environmental Services Manager, said: “Participating in GROW has been an extraordinary experience for Spotless and it is great to see so many given such a fabulous opportunity.
“Watching the confidence of the candidates grow through each stage of the program, and ultimately being able to welcome so many new team members, has been a great,” he said.
Deanna Neville, LCMS Operations Manager said, “Since starting the program, we have run four group recruitment sessions which have been warmly received. There’s no doubt that gaining employment with Spotless has helped our communities to establish themselves and their families within Bendigo. LCMS highly values this ongoing partnership, and we hope to see the growth of more opportunities such as these, to get multicultural communities into sustainable employment”.
The GROW Bendigo LCMS/Spotless Program was celebrated at a luncheon on Thursday 7 July which was jointly catered by Karen Lady Catering – a business started by Karen refugee, Paw Kee in 2019 – and Jas’s Indian Kitchen in Kangaroo Flat.
If you are interested in implementing a similar initiative for your business, please contact Petra McLoughlin.