masters difference

Masters Making a Difference with Indigenous Jobseekers


Making a Difference

16 September 2014

Job opportunities for unemployed Indigenous candidates can be a rare commodity. So when a new Masters Home Improvements store is about to open in a regional area there is naturally a great deal of interest by many in securing a position.

Diversity Dimensions has partnered with Woolworths Limited for the past 4 years in providing a Transition to Employment program for Indigenous jobseekers to assist them into roles across all brands. In this time around 600 people have gained employment across the group.

When embraced by the whole store team, this program has continually proven to be tremendously successful. This success can be demonstrated by the outstanding results recently achieved at two Masters Home Improvement store openings, Taree in NSW and Sunbury in Victoria. Both stores have been able to not only place large numbers of participants from the program but have also managed to retain almost one hundred percent of the new employees for over six months since opening.

Meanwhile these employees continually prove to be highly valued members of the Masters team. In Sunbury Daniel Williams and Shaun Ortuso have grabbed the opportunity to make a positive change in their lives. After being unemployed for three years Daniel secured a role in Freight Flow and has since gained his fork lift licence. While Shaun, having previously been unemployed for two years, works in Garden and Freight Flow. Shaun was awarded Employee of the Month for August 2014 in recognition of his performance. Both men feel that their inclusion in the team and the support they receive from management has helped them to turn their lives around.

Of the twelve people who commenced the Taree program eleven were offered positions

Sunbury Store Support Manager Pat Agresta is delighted with the performance of all seven diversity program candidates. He said that they all "fit straight into the team. They all were very well prepared for associate positions." Pat believes his store boasts "diverse cultures but are one team".

The NSW Mid North Coast town of Taree has recently seen an increased pressure on employment as large employers have moved out of the town. So the Masters store opening offered hope of opportunities in the area. Store Manager Michael Kuchel had previously been involved in Indigenous recruitment programs in previous stores in which he worked and was keen to do conduct a program in Taree.

Of the twelve people who commenced the Taree program eleven were offered positions following group assessment and interview. And over six months later all but one remains with the store. Store Support Manager Kelly McLennan says that retention would have been 100% however one candidate was able to secure a full time position elsewhere which is a difficult task in the region.

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