Paws For The Cause: Changing The Lives Of Young People

A social enterprise in Dandenong South is changing the lives of at risk young people by giving them opportunities to work in the picking, packing and warehousing industry.

Minister for Industry and Employment Wade Noonan was today given a special tour of Online PAWS (Picking and Warehouse Solutions) – a social enterprise supporting young people aged between 16 and 25.

Online PAWS gives them access to training qualifications, work experience and sets up opportunities for full-time work.

The registered charity is run by Whitelion – which also operates social enterprises Wheely Good Coffee and fruit2work.

All of Online PAWS’ profits are directed back to the business to assist more young people and create more local jobs.

Whitelion is also a partner in the Jobs Victoria Employment Network (JVEN) – the Andrews Labor Government’s flagship program to help more than 4,000 disadvantaged Victorian jobseekers get a job and keep it.

As part of JVEN, Whitelion received $2.65 million to place 240 at risk young people into work – with 60 participants already identified and 18 currently working.

The Labor Government has also launched Australia’s first social enterprise strategy along with $5 million in funding.

The strategy aims to grow the sector, support more social procurement and create jobs for Victorians from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Victoria is home to Australia’s largest collection of social enterprises – with more than 5,000 operating statewide employing more than 75,000 Victorians. You can access the Social Enterprise Strategy at www.economicdevelopment.vic.gov.au/social-enterprise

Quotes attributable to Minister for Industry and Employment Wade Noonan

“Victoria’s landmark social enterprise strategy will ensure more people get access to a job – regardless of their background.”

“We know that some people in our community face multiple barriers to work, which is why we are helping thousands of Victorians find sustainable jobs.”