Where are we at? GROW start up review
How is GROW going? What has been achieved? Any ideas about what should happen next?
To answer these questions, an external review of GROW was undertaken by Clear Horizon Consulting, reflecting on the activities and outcomes of the GROW initiative during its start-up phase.
The review indicates that the initiative has already shown evidence of a number of notable successes, including:
• Mobilisation of region wide support for developing and committing to a collective response to address place based disadvantage
• Strong commitment and motivation to sign up to the GROW initiative, driven by perceived benefits to business, and the desire to help the local community and break the cycle of disadvantage
• Growing awareness of the barriers to employment faced by people from target areas
• Changed conversations around “how you do business” and a drive to change key practices around local procurement
• Policy influence both at State and Federal level through the rollout of GROW across the state and convening key stakeholders to explore changes to the local Job Active model to ensure greater sustainability of local employment services.
The review findings demonstrate that mindset shifts and practice changes are occurring among a substantial number of businesses, organisations and partners in the G21 region as a result of the GROW initiative.
This has allowed key priorities to be identified for the next phase of the initiative:
• Scaling up and scaling deep – creating change across policy, practice and behavior and embedding GROW principles across organisations
• Continuing to advocate for GROW principles to be built into local strategic tenders and contracts
• Finding meaningful ways to more clearly and simply communicate GROW
• Co-designing solutions with employers to create more inclusive and supportive workplaces
• Support mobilising more and new forms of funding for aligned activities, notably the employment support services sector for GROW target areas
• Re-thinking regional collaboration and governance structures to ensure the GROW initiative leverages the skills and time of participants and key stakeholders in the most effective way.
Over 200 key stakeholders participated in focus group discussions, surveys and interviews. Due to the collective nature of GROW, it was important that Compact Signatories and key stakeholders had a voice within the review process and that recommendations and solutions were co-created.
By adopting a co-evaluation approach, the review celebrated and acknowledge the significant contribution and achievements across the GROW collective.