This presentation will appeal to CEOs and senior managers interested in an innovative approach to using different business models to achieve sustainable employment outcomes for people with disabilities. The presentation is based on research conducted by The University of Queensland (2016) on a highly successful disability employment enterprise, the Nundah Community Enterprise Cooperative (NCEC). Literature suggests that meaningful work is a fundamental human need, and people with disabilities often struggle to access meaningful work (Yeoman 2014). For the last 18 years, the Nundah Community Enterprise Cooperative (NCEC) has provided meaningful work through the Espresso Nundah Train Cafe and the NCEC Parks and Maintenance Crew.
Cooperatives and mutual enterprises are experiencing a resurgence in human service delivery. They are well-aligned to market-based programs like the NDIS. This is because cooperative members are both economically and democratically involved in its governance and ownership. The University of Queensland used both a narrative approach and semi-structured interviews, along with thematic analysis to explore both the lived experiences of members of the NCEC, and the professional and policy inputs associated with the emergent work. The research results and case study conclude that meaningful work and social inclusion are the outcomes of a work environment that encourages social connection and also supports members to have their say in key decisions and to co-create networks with their co-workers and the wider community.
The research highlights the significance of cooperatives – a middle way form of enterprise built on a long tradition of mutuality, and contrasts this to traditional organisation forms based on the efficiency tradition. The Nundah case study shows: 1. Cooperatives can provide meaningful social and economic participation for people with disabilities 2. The cooperative business model has huge advantages over mainstream open employment, and 3. There are significant professional inputs at multiple levels in diverse ways, with particular personal supports needed.

Richard Warner

Nundah Community Enterprises Co-operative

Coordinator, Nundah Community Enterprises Cooperative Ltd Richard Warner is the coordinator of Nundah Community Enterprises Cooperative (NCEC), a social enterprise creating meaningful work opportunities for people with a cognitive disability. Richard has a background in Social Work and Community Development and volunteers on a number of not-for-profit boards. Richard is current Secretary of the Queensland Social Enterprise council (QSEC) the peak body democratically representing Social Enterprise in Queensland. Richard has a long history as an advocate, volunteer and paid worker in the disability sector and resides in Brisbane Queensland. Web: LinkedIn: richard-warner Twitter @nundahcoop Members of the NEC co-operative will assist me in delivering this paper.

Peter Westoby

Senior Lecturer
The University of Queensland

Peter Westoby is a Senior Lecturer in Community Development, School of Social Sciences, at The University of Queensland; a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Development Support, University of Free State, South Africa; and a director/consultant with Community Praxis Cooperative. He teaches and researches on community development theory and practice, dialogue studies and forced migration studies. He has worked in youth, community and organisation development for 28 years, within South Africa, Uganda, Vanuatu, PNG, the Philippines and Australia. He has published nine books, and 40+ professional journal articles. He is known for monograph’s such as Dialogical Community Development (2013) (Routledge), Soul, Community and Social Change (2016) (Ashgate/Routledge), and The Sociality of Refugee Healing (2009) (Common Ground); and has also edited several volumes including, with Shevellar, Learning and Mobilising for Community Development (2012) (Ashgate) and is also currently editing the Routledge Handbook for Community Development Research.

Gillian McFee

Chair BCCM Public Service Mutuals Taskforce
Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals

After a successful and fulfilling executive career in health and aged care, Gillian now combines consulting and project roles with Board work. Gillian’s passion is working with inspired people to help them achieve worthwhile change. She is committed to achieving lasting social and economic change by having the users of human services at the centre of service design. Gillian works closely with the Business Council of Cooperatives and Mutuals where she leads the cooperative development program providing information, resources and advice to organisations interested in becoming a cooperative or mutual. Gillian chairs the Public Service Mutuals Task Force which was responsible for producing a White Paper on the role of mutuals and cooperatives in public service delivery. Prior to establishing this busy portfolio career, Gillian was CEO/Director of UnitingCare Ageing (now Uniting) one of Australia’s largest health and aged care providers. Gillian is committed to life-long learning and has used this to hone the hard and soft skills of leadership. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors with tertiary qualifications including an Executive MBA, post-graduate qualifications in urban studies and a Bachelor (Hons.) in Social Work.

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