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Job Services Australia (formerly known as the Job Network) was an Australian Government-funded network of organisations (private and community, and originally also government) that are contracted by the Australian Government, through the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), to deliver employment services to unemployed job seekers on Government income support payments and employers. It was replaced by the Jobactive program on 1 July 2015.
Job Services Australia providers are initially selected for the network and allocated business through a competitive public tender process, with contract periods running for varying lengths of time determined by the Australian Government. There are over 1,000 sites across Australia delivering Job Services Australia. These sites are managed by DEEWR.
Job Services Australia began in 1998 as "Job Network" after the dissolution of the Commonwealth Employment Service (CES). In 1996–97, the Australian Federal Parliament passed legislation to combine the functions of the CES and the Department of Social Security. As a result, Centrelink was created to provide monetary welfare support to people across Australia. The delivery of employment services was tendered out to Job Network organisations whose primary responsibility was to assist people into work.
In 2009, the Rudd Government renamed the program "Job Services Australia".
Job Services Australia is a competitive industry with organisations competing for contracts through tenders. Job Services Australia is currently in its first deed period.[needs update]
The services provided by Job Services Australia differ according to the level of disadvantage of the job seeker, circumstances or the allowance they are receiving from Centrelink. Services include:
- Stream 1 (Limited): Job Services Australia assists in creating an online resume for the purpose of applying for jobs through DEEWR's online Australian JobSearch (AJS) website, and automatically matching the job seeker's knowledge, skills and experience to new jobs that are available.
- Stream 1: This part of the JSA model includes Intensive Activities, where job seekers participate in activities to develop their skills in resume development, application writing, cold canvassing, goal setting, career planning, interview techniques, job search and work experience.
- Stream 2 & 3: These job seekers are experiencing moderate and significant disadvantage (respectively). Job seekers will enter into an Employment Pathway Plan (EPP) which will include activities and assistance aimed at improving the job seekers' employability. The focus will be on addressing the vocational and non-vocational needs of the job seeker.
- Stream 4: These job seekers are assessed as having the most severe levels of disadvantage and may be affected by such things as mental health, disability, homelessness, abuse, drug/alcohol etc. JSA providers will work with the job seeker to address their most pressing issues/barriers first. The aim is to achieve employment, however this may take some time.
- Work Experience: This phase usually begins for a job seeker after 12 months in a particular stream. In the work experience phase, job seekers who are eligible are required to participate in a work experience activity on an annual basis. Work experience activities could include Work for the Dole, Green Corp, Volunteer Work, Part Time Work, Part Time Study, Unpaid Work Experience, Participation in Government Programs or Non-Vocational Activities.
Contracts and performance ratings
- Contract 1 1998–2000
- Contract 2 2000–2003
- Contract 3 2003–2006
- Contract 3 Extension 2006–2009
- JSA Deed 2009–2012
Job Services Australia agencies are rated by DEEWR every six months (or milestone) on performance, based on placing clients into work and keeping them employed for 13 and/or 26 weeks. A Star Rating system is used, ranging from one to five stars; five stars indicate the highest level of performance.
The ratings are calculated using a regression model that looks at the number of jobs or outcomes that a site has achieved. As the details of the model have not been released, agencies are often unsure what their next rating will be.
The peak industry bodies for Job Services Australia members are National Employment Services Association (NESA), which represents all employment and employment related service providers, and Jobs Australia, which represents the not-for-profit sector. These bodies represent the needs and wishes of the employment services sector to the Australian Government. Professional development within the industry is provided by organisations including NESA and others such as Diversity@Work, Duality, Job Services Central and Work Savvy Parents to ensure staff are up to date with policies and procedures.[needs update]
DEEWR provides free software for use in JSA called ESS. Other organisations have created other software for use in the industry.
- "Former Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations". deewr.gov.au.
- "Job Services Australia Provider Performance – Star Ratings". Australian Government Employment. Australian Government. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
- Laura Tingle, (5 February 2000), Church and State: making a job of it, Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, p. 13. Retrieved 17 April 2013