Diversity creates connectivity and a strong sense of community
At Telstra we’re all about connecting people and embracing diversity, whether within the community or amongst our own employees. And it’s great to see people within our company act on this positive culture. Michael Marrett, a Service Delivery team member from South Australia, is one of these people.
What began as a spark of an idea from Michael has now developed into a nation-wide model, known as the Support Workforce Program, which currently employs (via contract arrangements) over 200 people from 13 not-for-profit organisations.
I have included a short video below, so you can see the passion behind this program.
How one great idea grew
In 2010, as our National Contract Specialist, Michael and his team were looking for suppliers for network site maintenance.
At the time, Michael’s son was employed at Minda, a local not-for-profit organisation which supports more than 1,500 South Australian people with varying degrees of intellectual and physical disabilities. His son performed jobs for the council, including graffiti removal and ground maintenance in locations surrounding Brighton and Seacliff.
Michael approached his team and managers, including Service Delivery’s Field Delivery General Manager Wade Campbell, who were all very supportive of the idea to engage with community groups like Minda.
A trial began mid-2010 with two exchanges and one organisation, Minda, and the sites were not only well kept, which is great for Telstra’s reputation in the community, the contracted support team were also able to engage in valuable, neighborhood interactions.
By the end of 2010, Michael and his team had received very positive responses, from both within the business and the community, so they decided to continue the program and build on its success. Soon the exchanges being maintained by the support team expanded to four, then ten and the number has kept growing since then.
Telstra now employs support teams from 13 not-for-profit organisations nationally, including Minda, Choose Employment, Orana, House with No Steps, Disability Services Australia, Wesley Mission, Phoenix, Interwork, La Trobe Valley Enterprises, Parklane Nurseries, Radius Disability, Scope Victoria, and Wise Employment.
The contracted support teams carry out a broad range of work including graffiti and waste removal, garden maintenance and clean rest rooms and network areas. Five hundred exchanges receive regular cleaning weekly, fortnightly or monthly (depending on the size of the site) and 2,500 sites receive regular grounds maintenance. The support teams are also working at major sites including the Exhibition and Windsor Telephone Exchanges in Melbourne.
Telstra’s engagement of disability enterprises in our Support Workforce Program is a great example of how major businesses can create a positive outcome for all involved; the workers, businesses and the communities.
This is the first program of this scope that I am aware of and Michael’s team are confident that the current model can be expanded further, widening the scope of work and suppliers in our regional and metro locations.
Service Delivery Central’s Ryan Senior will shortly attend a BBQ with Wesley Mission to celebrate their dedication to the program and acknowledge the cast who participated in the video.
This Supported Workforce example shows how one clever idea and some hard work can create a positive change for many.
Above: Wise Employment staff member cleaning in the Windsor TE 000 call centre.
Below: Wise Employment supervisor and supported worker on gardening detail.
Success due to teamwork
Within this Blog I have recognized Michael and his team and the organisations involved and their fantastic work crews; but behind-the-scenes there are many others including Service Delivery’s regional co-ordinators (Ryan Senior, Jude Flynn, Steve Ryan. Michelle Roberts), Field Delivery General Manager Wade Campbell, Contract Manager Brian O’Shea, Jon Youings and Brooke Glassel from Telstra Procurement and Telstra Chief Sustainability Office’s Manager Disability Services Bert Ciavarra. Bert worked closely with Michael on the program and continues to work with the team and the Procurement group to identify new sustainable commercial partnership opportunities with Australian Disability Enterprises.