Jigsaw Mt Gravatt
Jigsaw is a social enterprise that supports people with disability to gain workplace training and employment. Their vision is for an Australia in which all people with disability are fully included in the workforce, and they believe that people prepare best for work, through work.
Jigsaw provides a digitisation service, supporting clients including large corporates, Councils and State Government with document and data management. This commercial service creates a training pathway for school leavers with disability to prepare for and secure award wage employment at their own pace.
Jigsaw’s model includes training in 20 core competencies, an environment to put these skills into practice in award wage employment, and supported transition into mainstream employment. Jigsaw staff provide individualised support to meet participants’ diverse needs, training and professional development modules are worked through at their own pace, and participants graduate when they are ready.
At their Sydney location at Frenchs Forest, Jigsaw have achieved impressive results with 242 trainees supported, 86 people employed at award wage, and 35 people transitioned into mainstream employment.
In February 2020 Jigsaw expanded to Queensland, opening in a large industrial space in a social enterprise district at Mt Gravatt. In 2020, VFFF supported Jigsaw with the purchase of digitisation equipment to meet the increasing demand, and by early 2021 they had grown to supporting 68 participants.
As if they weren’t busy enough, during 2020 Jigsaw also piloted a Work Experience program after hearing from schools about limited work experience opportunities for Year 11 and 12 students with disability, who also fall outside the net of NDIS support. The program includes deep engagement with participants to identify their goals and address fears and anxieties about the workplace, exposure to successful professionals with disability as inspirational speakers, and one-on-one mentoring to enable individualised support and reflection.
The Work Experience pilot was a success, with many reporting that the program positively changed their perception of their own capabilities and the opportunities available to them. In February VFFF granted a further $50,000 towards delivery of the work experience program throughout 2021.
Jigsaw is a fantastic example of a person-centric, supportive and strategic model addressing the gap for people with disability who face significant barriers to entering the workforce. Having proved the replicability of their model, Jigsaw now has plans to open in Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide and Perth, and also offers an online program from anywhere in Australia.