Local Connections links Frankston residents to work and education

More than 1,400 Australians have moved from unemployment into jobs thanks to Local Connections to Work, Minister for Human Services Brendan O‟Connor announced today.

More than 1,400 Australians have moved from unemployment into jobs thanks to Local Connections to Work, Minister for Human Services Brendan O‟Connor announced today.

Visiting the Frankston Local Connections to Work office with the Federal Member for Isaacs, Mark Dreyfus, Mr O‟Connor said the initiative had been successful in linking people to work and training opportunities since the scheme began in May 2010.

"The Frankston office has helped find locals over 300 job placements and more than 200 education and training placements," Mr O‟Connor said.

"It‟s a great result for the community and is representative of the success the initiative is having around the country.

"Frankston was the first Local Connections to Work office in Australia. Now there are nine operating across the nation and more than 1,400 people have made their way into work and almost 1,000 more have moved into training."

Local Connections to Work makes it easy for people to access a huge range of government and non-government services, with Medicare, Centrelink and 23 other community and government services available under the one roof.

Mr Dreyfus said this was a great community resource with customers saving time, getting faster service and ultimately a better result.

"If staff notice a customer could benefit from a referral to an external service, people no longer have to travel to another office. They can access a huge range of community services right here."

Frankston Local Connections to Work manager Melissa Young said having so many service providers under the one roof made it easier to serve local customers.

"We have been able to make a real difference to the lives of so many Frankston residents," Ms Young said.

"Only last week my team helped a lady who was battling with having to move out of her property sooner than expected. With three children, it all became too much as she was trying to work out housing arrangements while also worrying about paying back a series of overdue fines.

"We often see this with our customers. They find themselves overloaded with a series of difficulties, which all at once are too much to deal with, leaving them feeling a sense of helplessness and isolation.

"We linked this customer with a social worker, as well as financial counseling, study options and consumer affairs to help with her fines.

"She left our office this week saying she felt like a „weight was lifted off her shoulders‟. She was keen to go and welcome her kids home from school and spend some time with them, as for the past few weeks she‟d been so preoccupied trying to work out how to deal with her bills and housing situation.

"Knowing the work we‟re doing here is helping locals out motivates us all to keep doing what we‟re doing."

The success of the Frankston office and others operating around the country has meant another five sites are planned to open this year, and a total of 24 will open between now and 2015.