Joining forces with others has never been so important for businesses in this rapidly changing world.

Alongside uncertainty comes flexibility and next to it, collaboration. There is strong evidence that collaboration enables innovation, creates mutual benefits, and supports the achievement of a common goal.

Collaboration defines our work at Your Caring Way. It supports its mission of connecting people to real opportunities across Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania.

Since its inception, Your Caring Way has worked with value-driven organisations that realise the benefit of providing employment or volunteering opportunities for its highly skilled, qualified, and committed carers.

Technology for Ageing & Disability Queensland (TADQ) is one of them.

Your Caring Way’s effective collaboration with TADQ provides unique opportunities for carers to build their experience and apply their skills in the workplace.

For over 40 years, TADQ has been designing, creating, and building customised assistive technology solutions for children and adults in Queensland.

Through the organisation's recent efforts, two Your Caring Way participants commenced volunteer work with them and so far, it’s been overwhelmingly positive for them.

TADQ Chief Executive Officer, Maureen O’Brien-Stone, says the organisation is founded on volunteers bringing in their skills to support their work of providing services to people with disabilities and the aged.

“Collaborating with Your Caring Way has provided us access to volunteers who come with a special level of understanding of the not-for-profit sector because they have been in a carer role, and therefore, fully understand the voluntary role that many undertake,” she said.

“Access to staff this way has been a very important opportunity for TADQ.”

“Since a restructure in October 2019, we have relied much more on volunteer admin support. This has gotten us through a very difficult period,” she added.

“We have had two Your Caring Way volunteers now. Both have come in an Admin capacity.”

“Janie worked on our database and various government portals recording client and project information. She answered incoming phone calls as well. Janie had a quiet manner and fitted in very well with the team.”

“We appreciate that many volunteers particularly in an Admin role are seeking paid employment. Such was the case with Janie who moved on to a position in a Call Centre.”

“Our second volunteer is Ayana who came to us while already undertaking online studies in bookkeeping and accounting.”

“This was a very good fit for TADQ as we needed someone to undertake our MYOB data entry and we are prepared to train in this, particularly if it enables us to retain good talent.”

“Ayana’s ability and value to the organisation coincided with a realisation that she too was seeking paid employment.”

“It soon became obvious that to retain her, we would need to offer her paid work.”

“I discussed with her the limitations of our financial resources, and we agreed on three days per week during school hours.”

“At the same time, I explained that we were negotiating an initiative that if successful, would enable us to offer her more hours which we would actually need from the bookkeeping role that she is undertaking.”

“I am delighted that this is becoming possible, so in the new year Ayana will move to more hours which are being negotiated around her needs, as well as ours.”

“Ayana has become a wonderful asset to TADQ and obviously Your Caring Way is very capable of matching the ideal candidate with our requirements.”

From Your Caring Way’s perspective, this approach is what really makes partnerships work.

Your Caring Way’s Program Manager, Heidi Dekker, says the program relies on carer friendly employers to help unpaid carers achieve their goals.

“The work we do with carers is not possible without their support,” she said.

“Carers not only benefit from these opportunities but also appreciate the employer’s flexibility and understanding of their caring role.”

“The experience they can gain at TADQ is really valuable for their careers and have a lasting impact,” she added.

Incorporating new ways of working together increases learning opportunities not only for volunteers but for employers too.

“For the business, it gives us resources that financially we cannot otherwise afford, supports the work that we do and takes the pressure off other staff to cope with ever-increasing levels of administration,” Maureen said.

“For the volunteers, it provides experience and an update in skills. The role is no different than in a paid role in a for-profit business. Also, they train in a friendly accepting environment,” she added.

“On a personal level, I find it satisfying to be able to provide real training and experience to these people who are obviously motivated and committed.”