Disability Works Australia

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DWA employees solve skills shortages at Jim's

The national agreement forged between Jim's Group and Disability Works Australia has resulted in about 40 people with a disability being placed in full-time work in little more than a year.

"It's a fantastic win-win situation for everyone involved," said Jim's Group chief executive officer Gregory Puzzolo.

Like some other industries around Australia, the major home service franchise is facing skills shortages.

"Every 12 months we turn away over 30,000 jobs around Australia because our franchisees simply don't have the staff to service them," Mr Puzzolo said.

"When we were first approached by DWA to consider taking on some people with a disability, we only thought it may help us through our seasonal busy periods."

"However it has worked out so well that the franchisees have created full-time jobs."

Until now, all the jobs have been in the lawn-mowing division, however Mr Puzzolo said he was now planning to promote the scheme in Jim's fencing, tree and building maintenance, book-keeping and computing divisions.

"The physical work we do is hard and very intense, which is why Jim's franchisees sometimes find it hard to attract employees. However the employees from DWA all have a fantastic attitude and they're willing work hard."

Mr Puzzolo said Jim's Group has an excellent relationship with DWA. "I see a long-term synergy between us. Our franchisees are satisfied and the clients are happy so there are benefits all round.

"Franchisees with DWA employees are now spreading the word of the benefits at their lcoal franchisee meetings throughout the country. We aim to become the largest franchisee company in Australia using DWA employees."

Mr Puzzolo said DWA makes the whole process very easy by screening aplicants for suitability first and offering strong support in the workplace.

"Our franchisees - and there are 2500 around Australia - have embraced the idea of employing people with a disability," he said.

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