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30 Apr 2019

Media releases

SSI expands employment services for people living in social housing

SSI will draw on its experience in operating successful employment programs for vulnerable groups of people, bringing its unique social enterprise approach and established connections with employers and specialist services to communities across Parramatta, Mount Druitt, Auburn, Merrylands and Blacktown.

The NSW Government has partnered with local service providers to deliver Opportunity Pathways, a new employment-focused program that helps people receiving social housing assistance to access education, training and work.

Opportunity Pathways is aimed at people who want to improve their employment options and who are:

• aged 17 and older; and
• living in social housing or are approved social housing applicants; or
• are receiving a Rent Choice subsidy.

Through this program, SSI connects participants to education, training and employment opportunities tailored to their needs, aspirations and capabilities. SSI identifies the strengths, skills and aspirations of each participant, and matches these to job categories and relevant courses that are likely to lead to job opportunities.

Since 2015, SSI has operated employment programs that support vulnerable groups of people across the Sydney region, including young people who are unemployed, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, people with disability, parents transitioning to the workforce, long-term unemployed people, refugees, and people seeking asylum.

“We are very pleased that through our programs, our clients have successfully secured employment in over 400 local businesses, government agencies and corporations,” said Karen Bevan, SSI General Manager Service Delivery – Community.

“We work with people who may face barriers such as not knowing what work opportunities are available locally, or lacking confidence or capacity to enter employment without support.”

SSI’s innovative and person-centred approach addresses challenges like these with its successful social enterprise model, providing participants with meaningful work experience, skills, confidence, and access to sustainable employment.

“Each participant in the Opportunity Pathways program will be supported through this established process, and receive practical work experience with on-the-job training in one of our social enterprises, such as The Staples Bag (low cost grocery retail business), Humble Creatives (creative arts venture), The Experience Centre (administration and professional services), and Food for Thought (hospitality service),” said Ms Bevan.

“All of our social enterprises are linked to or have strong relationships with local employers.”

SSI will also draw on its existing networks, delivering Opportunity Pathways in collaboration with the well-established partnerships it has with other specialist services, employers and local supports as needed.

“With our strong connections to CALD community organisations, SSI will use our existing working relationships to establish culturally appropriate services, identify suitable participants, and provide participants with pathways to paid employment or to other relevant support services,” said Ms Bevan.

“Our service commitment to all of our clients is to work collaboratively with other services to best meet their needs.”

“We look forward to working with the communities in Western Sydney to deliver a service that makes a real difference and helps people address the barriers to employment and reach their goals.”

Family and Community Services (FACS) has funded Opportunity Pathways for three years. For more information about the program visit the FACS website.

SSI provides Opportunity Pathways services across sites in Parramatta, Mount Druitt, Auburn, Merrylands and Blacktown. To contact us, refer a participant, or self-refer, please email

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