Local People Making a Difference. At Madeleine Hicks Real Estate we are always interested in people and organisations who are working to create sustainable employment opportunities for everyone in our community.
Tony Newman from CPL – Choice, Passion, Life, is just this kind of person. And CPL is just this kind of organisation. I met Tony at a networking function (NOW Business Network) that we both attend and was interested to learn that he is a Business Development Officer for CPL.
CPL – Choice, Passion, Life (formerly known as the Cerebral Palsy League, which you might have known them as) support people with disabilities right across Queensland. And they’ve been doing so for 70 years – 2018 is their 70th year in fact.
CPL provide services from early intervention for people and families who may have just been diagnosed, to allied health therapies, support in homes or out in the community and of course employment and training.
Employment is, of course, a major part of most people’s lives and CPL believes that people with disabilities deserve the same opportunities as anyone else. CPL supports people with disabilities to find work in a range of ways and they have a few different business models and pathway programs that help them to do this.
Mylstones Solutions business development manager Tony Newman discusses a print job with hub worker Shelley Whelan.
The first is Mylestones Employment – this is a Disability Employment Service that matches job seekers to employers. They work with jobseekers to find long term employment that matches their skills and career goals, while also working closely with local businesses to meet their recruitment needs. They’ve been around for over 20 years, kicking goals for local businesses and people with disabilities every day.
The second is Mylestones Solutions – it’s a social enterprise providing supported employment opportunities and that’s where Tony comes in.
Mylestones Solutions have work crews right across Queensland (Cairns, Townsville, Gladstone, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Toowoomba and Brisbane South), which provide professional garden maintenance and landscaping to businesses. Tony is responsible for finding and developing new business for Mylestones Solutions, so they can continue to grow and with the hope that they can start more crews in different areas.
Because more crews mean more jobs for people with disabilities.
I was astounded to learn that although 1 in 5 Australians have a disability, they only equate to 10% of the national workforce.
And while we’re on statistics – did you know that Australia’s GDP would grow by $34.5 billion a year if people with a disability had the same workforce participation rates as the general population? Plus, $7.1 billion would be saved each year on disability support pensions.
Tony’s immediate goal is to win enough business for Mylestones Solutions to establish a crew in North Brisbane. The existing crews have been hugely successful already, winning tenders with different councils, body corporates and the Housing Commission.
In addition to these gardening crews, Mylestones Solutions and Mylestones Printing also have a hub in Strathpine where they employ over 40 people with disabilities and offer a range of services to local businesses.
In short, the hub offers affordable print and mail options for businesses. It could range from mail preparation and direct mail, to digital printing, as well as binding and laminating and everything in between. And while you’re getting a quality and local service, you’re also supporting employment for people with disabilities too.
Here too, Tony plays a role by clueing business people into the efficiencies and cost savings they can achieve by using the hub to complete tasks which, although vital, might be time-consuming and distract them from their core business, whatever that might be.
The hub also has a coffee cart open to the public at the entrance, which provides employment and training for even more people with disabilities. They also offer barista training for anyone who would like to learn more about the art of coffee.