• MCB helps build diverse skills at disability enterprise

    In October, the Metropolitan Cemeteries Board (MCB) received a certificate of appreciation from the Minister for Disability Services for having contracts with four of the eight Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) operating in WA.

    You’d be right in thinking that this is quite the achievement for a small agency like the MCB, but like most big things, this too started small. It all began with one staff member named George contracting one small ground maintenance job to one ADE.

    Recognising the contract as a great foot in the door, the ADE made sure it delivered – and then some. Soon, MCB management realised that the cheerful ADE-crew not only delivered great work, the workers also added a spark to what is otherwise a very solemn business. Before long, ADEs were assisting with the ground maintenance at a number of cemeteries across Perth.

    More contracts followed. There were plaques to be laser-cut, booklets to be printed, timber pallets to be built and more grounds to be maintained.

    According to George Czerniak of MCB, “the sense of self-esteem and pride just radiates from the contract staff. Working with them is an extremely positive experience”.

    And so, these days, the ADEs are front of mind. When some months ago the MCB needed a niche wall for urns, the ADEs were the first port of call. Though this was not necessarily within their scope of capabilities, one of the businesses was keen to branch out, do the job and build new skills within its employee base.

    By now, the job is complete and George is happy. “The ADE-crew brought a wealth of skills and abilities, such as calculation, calibration and mechanical skills. They produced a near perfect concrete module, saving us valuable manpower and time.”

    George and his colleagues at the MCB feel that their involvement is a core element of their corporate social responsibility and that they have an obligation to give people with disabilities worthwhile work where they can.

    Their advice to fellow government buyers?

    “Don’t hesitate to hire an ADE. It is cost-effective and a great outcome for the community we are ultimately servicing. Spend some time thinking about the opportunities you can offer and don’t forget that not all disabled people are completely dependent. The training, constant assessment and review the workers undertake to ensure they are safe and suitable for the work is commendable. ADE staff members have a strong work ethic and the work gives them a great deal of personal satisfaction.”

    To engage an ADE on behalf of your agency, your first step is to identify opportunities for them to supply goods and services to your agency. Don’t be afraid to think outside the square; ADEs are always keen to expand into new business areas.

    There is a Social Initiatives Procurement Manager at Government Procurement who can help you develop and enter into contracts with ADEs. They can advise you of ADE capabilities and put you in touch with the right company. They can also provide procurement advice and guidance to achieve your outcomes. For more information, go to the Finance website.

    Published date: 10 April 2015