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Activating Hope in Employment Services

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Transforming employment services

Understanding the challenges of Australia’s welfare-to-work system is essential for it to succeed in helping the most vulnerable members of our society. Chronic long-term unemployment affects a significant percentage of all job seekers across the country, and these statistics have remained consistent for many years.

While the current Workforce Australia and Disability Employment Services contracts are designed to provide improved, enhanced services to the most vulnerable, frontline staff across the sector are often challenged by the constraints of the systems.

Frontline workers support their clients to find work, but many experience complex barriers such as low wellbeing, poor mental health, substance abuse, homelessness, disability, and chronic disease. 

Compliance and other punitive measures are the main tools used to compel clients to find work; however, they are largely ineffective. The administrative load that comes with working within a compliance-based system means that staff have limited time to work with their clients.

As a result, those clients experiencing long-term unemployment feel let down by the system, and those working in the sector experience high levels of stress and overwhelm.

Moving away from compliance-based, transactional service delivery to positive, transformational outcomes and experiences must be the goal for
the sector.

Frontline workers across the sector are essential to activating hope within their clients, and increasing indicators of positive wellbeing and psychological work-readiness such as confidence, motivation, and resilience.

Specifically, this paper explores:

  • The current state of play for frontline workers in employment services.
  • Wellbeing and hope — activating the theories of change.
  • Moving from transactional service delivery to transformational outcomes and experiences.


This white paper explores the opportunity for the employment services sector to enhance client experience through their workforce. 

Service delivery focused on improving wellbeing, self-efficacy, and social capital will lead to improved outcomes in education, work, and life for people experiencing long-term unemployment.

The Activating Hope in Employment Services 2023 Whitepaper

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