The Innovation Fund was a $41 million competitive grants programme that financed projects to help highly disadvantaged job seekers overcome multiple barriers to find work. The programme ran from 1 July 2009 through to 30 June 2012.
The Innovation Fund financed 83 projects across Australia that ranged in size, scope and objectives. The organisations that delivered the projects included employment service providers, social enterprises and community organisations.
The projects included establishing wrap-around or integrated services for disadvantaged job seekers, mentoring projects, establishing social enterprises and linking disadvantaged job seekers with areas of skill shortage.
The Innovation Fund helped more than 13,300 participants over three years, with more than 4300 jobs, 6400 training outcomes, 1900 work experience placements and 5000 mentoring opportunities.
A review of the Innovation Fund projects took place at the end of the programme, including:
- individual project evaluations by each funded organisation
- a broader review of 12 selected projects.
A thematic review of all of the projects identified some key principles and themes that could be used to contribute to the development and delivery of employment services in the future.
The Australian Government directly applied these key learnings to the design and funding of the Job Services Australia Demonstration Pilots.