Month: April 2017

How can you best prepare your clients for the real world? Create a service experience that reflects the reality of the workforce (and what it means to be an employee).

To do this, you need to recreate and replicate a workplace. All too often clients leave our services and aren’t prepared for the workforce.

We need to work together to create people that have a voice, develop their ideas, and can hold a business conversation.

Involve your client in identifying their own employment interests. Implement a service that goes beyond crisis response, beginning the process of working towards employment.

Build a picture of employment. 

Reinforce this early on by asking the right questions as early as possible. This helps them understand that employment is a key focus. There should be no closed questions to encourage further conversations. Frame them in a way that the client needs to think for themselves and have an opinion.

Here are a few examples:

  • Think about a time when you did something that you enjoyed. Could be a job or something you did in your spare time. What did you enjoy about it?
  • Remember a time when you need to do a task and it came naturally. It could be in a job, study or general day-to-day tasks. What was it and what did you find came naturally to you? Have you thought how you could turn this into an employment opportunity? Why or why not?
  • What industries or work environments don’t you want to work in and why?
  • Think about businesses that you shop at or businesses you just like to visit. Name these and identify why you are interested in these.
  • Describe what the ideal job or workplace would look like for you.

Once you start to visualise their employment opportunities, it’s time to explore their skill set. Identify new tactics to help address skill gaps. These might include on-site mentoring, referral into short courses, and employment provider support.

Think about all the skills, talents and knowledge you need to possess within yourself, not only to become employed but to keep a job.

Valuable employability skills include:

  • Being able to consistently meet deadlines
  • Having relevant and quality conversations with other people
  • Asking smart questions and acting on the information given
  • Maintaining a certain image and identity that is appropriate and in line with the corporate image
  • Taking direction and delivering on the standards and expectations of other people
  • Serving other people’s interest and needs – not just your own
  • Creating a consistent level of work/output that meets the deadlines and standards of other people
  • Making people feel comfortable and at ease
  • Being able to address concerns and find solutions
  • Being creative when faced with challenges
  • Certain level of persistence and commitment to tasks
  • Reasonable level of literacy, numeracy and computer skills
  • Always being focused on organisational outcomes
  • Being able to respond to people in a respectful and mindful manner even when challenged and under pressure
  • Respecting other people even if their personalities and opinions differ from our own
  • Willing to take chances and try a different approach.

Give your clients the best the chance of gaining (and keeping) a position that’s suited to them. If you need help putting the frameworks in place, talk to us.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or

Many of us go into homeless and disability services to make a difference. Instinctively, in the process, we often adopt a counsellor role. But even with the best intensions, this isn’t the best way help them.

The secret to their growth is empowerment. Put yourself in your client’s shoes. What does empowerment mean to them and how are they actually going to achieve this?

  • Choice and control
  • The confidence to take calculated opportunities – avoid risks as it makes people retreat.
  • Being involved in the decisions that affect their wellbeing, functioning and that of their families
  • Taking action, not just talking about it
  • To live within their own standards and expectations and actually know what these are.

Level the playing field

The key to empowering your client is through a two-way relationship. In this line of work, serving people with complex issues and come from diverse backgrounds, is part of the job.

Poor lifestyle choices, substance abuse, and mental health issues are common roadblocks. These behaviours will require your active and conscious intervention. And while you can be an important person in their growth, empowerment is critical for real, long-term change.

Overcoming a conflict in perceptions is one of the first steps you can take. You can achieve this by making time to understand each other’s story and going in with a clean slate. Often, it’s our assumptions and how we deliver the client end to end experience that stops a relationship forming.

Keep these things in mind to avoid playing the counsellor.

  • Check your tone, style and manner
  • Ask yourself this: how do you want to come across? What image are you creating in the mind of your client?
  • Be confident but not condescending
  • Be very clear as to why you want to work on addressing these concerns and issues together and the benefits of doing so to the client. Be authentic in your approach.
  • Have the client be proactive and make their own recommendations about how they would resolve these roadblocks. Allow time for reflection – you do not need to be talking all the time.
  • Provide time for the client to think about solutions – what action can they take which matters to them right now, what support will help them achieve these solutions, what could de-rail the road to solutions and how to avoid potential derailments?

Clients believe certain myths about what they will receive from you and your service. Identify and respond to these “myths” asap if you want any shot at a useful and meaningful relationship.

Find out whether they’re accessing other support services. Get your client to describe them. What’s their family life like? What’s their lifestyle like? Their interests? Skills gaps?

By getting to know your client and creating an open, mutual space for growth, you prevent any mothering of them. Instead, there’s room to really help them.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or