Deliveroo Brings Jobs to DSS-Funded Work Program
2 July 2018 at 10:46 am
A jobs program with $1.38 million in taxpayer money and a “considerable amount” of donor dollars is starting by getting work for its disadvantaged youth at food delivery service Deliveroo.
The partnership between Deliveroo and the federal government to support long-term unemployed, at-risk youth via the gig (or tasking) economy marks an Australian-first, a company statement said.
Participants will be “enjoying the same pay and benefits as any other rider”, the statement said.
The employment program, Y4Y Youth Force run by White Lion, started last week in Melbourne at the same time Deliveroo UK was settling a claim by 50 couriers who alleged they were being unlawfully denied minimum wage and entitlements.
Deliveroo UK denied any liability while the riders’ lawyer told reporters some of her clients were on the breadline, earning hundreds and in some cases thousands of pounds below the national minimum wage over the time they worked for Deliveroo.
Back in Melbourne, the Y4Y Youth Force program started with its first group of 10 participants who were supplied with a new bicycle.
The program has budgeted for a total of 80 participants, 10 youth at a time in eight sequential 10-week programs, seven of the programs in Melbourne and one in Tasmania.
The work experience element is part of the program, coming with special support from Deliveroo, and additional support and training supplied by White Lion.
White Lion program manager Stephanie McCloskey said she expected to announce work placement options other than Deliveroo soon , but agreements with more corporate partners were yet to be finalised.
McCloskey said the Department of Social Services (DSS) wanted to see these young people off the welfare bill, the breaking down of intergenerational unemployment, and getting them back into study and employment.
The Deliveroo work is a stepping stone to the program’s aim of having clients in the study or employment of their choosing within six to nine months, McCloskey said.
Asked if becoming a Deliveroo rider was a reasonable aspiration for these youth, McCloskey said: “If that’s what they want and if that what suits them. Whether the DSS will think it’s a success I don’t know, but I’m all about what the young people want.”
McCloskey said the program started last week after two years of work, including a pilot program, a national survey, and an application to the $96.1 million DSS Try, Test and Learn fund that netted $1.38 million for White Lion.
The program was also made possible by a “considerable amount” of donor dollars, she said.
The Try, Test and Learn fund sought “new or innovative approaches to assist some of the most vulnerable in society onto a path towards stable, sustainable independence”.
McCloskey said White Lion pitched the program’s gig economy focus as being new or innovative, and the related work’s flexible engagement as suiting clients with complicated lives.
“They’ll actually have something on their resume they can talk about at interviews and then they are ready for our more traditional employment programs,” she said.
Deliveroo Australia manager Levi Aron said his company had reached out to White Lion to see if it could help because it wanted to support young unemployed people.
“We want to be able to play a part, to be the stepping stone for the youth to use us as a way of getting back into the workforce,” Aron said.
“There are 10 people going through this pilot and they have all indicated that they would like to ride with Deliveroo as part of this experience of them getting back into the workforce,” he said.
Aron said Deliveroo would work to build the kind of confidence and skills that many people took for granted.
“We’ll be exposing them and supporting them to the commercial side of the program,” he said.
“That means going to restaurants, talking to restaurants while waiting for the food, and understanding the mechanics of how that works.
“They’ll be working with technology in following an app to get from the restaurant with the best routing system and all the different tech support that that comes with.
“At the end of that they’ll be knocking on the door and dealing with consumers, knowing how to have a conversation as they hand over the food – building the confidence and awareness that many take for granted.”
Aron said there were 4,000 Deliveroo couriers in Australia and 30,000 worldwide.