New return-to-work program launched for injured workers

Tuesday, 06 February, 2018

New return-to-work program launched for injured workers

A return-to-work program for injured workers will soon be starting in Girraween, western Sydney.

The first Craig’s Table training program will begin in February, after an information evening for injured workers, scheme agents, rehabilitation providers and others.

Pioneering social entrepreneur Rosemary McKenzie-Ferguson is looking for 50 to 60 injured workers to join.

“Craig’s Table is an innovative early intervention program which I first set up in Adelaide. It is designed and led by injured workers, who support each other to regain the confidence and capability to transition back into employment,” she said.

The icare Foundation has provided seed funding of $500,000 to Craig’s Table because it is assisting injured workers return to work in ways that have not been tried before, according to icare Foundation General Manager Amanda Keogh.

“We are investing in Craig’s Table in western Sydney because its philosophy of training through peer-to-peer sharing and mentoring is an innovative way to support injured workers to return to work and life. If it works well, it will be scaled up to other areas in NSW to support the ongoing transformation of the workers compensation system,” said Keogh.

“icare’s goal is to help people in their recovery by empowering them to return to work and to life with renewed confidence and new skills leading to new opportunities.”

icare General Manager, Health and Community Engagement Eugene McGarrell said Parramatta was chosen because there are over 750 injured workers in western Sydney who have been unable to return to work for more than 12 months.

“We’re creating social value by engaging and collaborating to empower the community to address the social issues that will make a meaningful difference to the Parramatta community,” he said.

The first part of the training focuses on rebuilding the confidence and capability of the participants, including upskilling in areas like emotional intelligence, mental health, financial literacy, information technology and manual handling.

“The second stage reintroduces participants to the community and the workforce through our social enterprises. Here they train to take up new opportunities in their own communities,” said McKenzie-Ferguson.

“The icare Foundation funding has gone towards setting up the engagement and rehabilitation functions, which include an op shop, a community garden and a cafe. After two years, we anticipate being self-sustaining.”

The information evening will be held at 117 Magowar Place, Girraween on Thursday, 8 February at 6 pm.

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