Every year ORS holds ‘Best Practice Days’ in each state for all staff members. The day is an opportunity for staff to; get together, listen to keynotes and discussions, learn more about the future of our services and award those within ORS who have went above and beyond to make a difference.

To get an idea of what the day involves, one of our Site Managers kindly shared what went on at this year’s VIC/TAS Best Practice Day…

All year I had heard that I would love our best practice day – it had a lot to live up to, and it did!

The Best Practice Day was an event for the Victorian and Tasmania sites together. It was a great chance to catch up like old mates but most importantly get an introduction for what the future holds for the company, for Disability Employment Services and hear from guest speakers.


A cultural beginning


Starting with an Acknowledgement to Country presentation – you get an instant feel for how serious ORS takes it’s inclusiveness, it’s respects and acknowledgement of all cultures.

We had a morning presentation from Ethical Jobs via Emily Markwell which provided great insight into careers that focus on social justice. Which was then followed up with the hotly anticipated presentation from Peter Scott – the head honcho! I’d heard great stories and being part of the ORS culture now for nearly 12 months, knew what he stood for – but it was important that I met him.


CEO speech


Peter’s speech wasn’t a typical presentation to talk about hype and morale and fluff – it was honest, it was open and still managed to be inspiring. Business talk can often feel mundane, but hearing Peter’s optimism and opportunities about the new DES Program coming in 2018 and giving us the power to take ownership of our sites to really shape our areas was encouraging. It is reassuring that we have the right teams in place to take us into a positive future, as the next 12 months will probably be some of the biggest in ORS history.


Speakers on disability employment


To follow was an update on best practice for dealing with larger suppliers from Craig Haywood at DWA. After a quick break, Toni Wren from AND spoke about dealing with Key Employers in terms of Disability and how to approach this task. How to open those doors that might not present so openly.

Rick Kane was up next with a chat about Disability employment. Rick is the CEO from Disability Employment Australia (DEA) and was one of the most inspiring speakers of the day. It wasn’t so much about what he spoke about which was the future of DES, but more about the impact we have and the power to create positive change in our areas of service. Rick just seemed like the kind of bloke you’d love to work with and was willing to get his hands dirty.


Keynote speaker


Jessica Smith – Paralympian, Mum, Mental Health Advocate.

Jess talks about her stellar career as a Paralympian, but it’s not littered with gold medals and glory – it’s the darker underbelly of what Paralympians are forced to deal with in terms of discrimination and bullying. She talks about the impact of being treated different despite being the best in her field. Her story spoke about how this impacted her mental health and her future body image issues. Imagine being the best of the best and feeling like you didn’t belong and that you were treated less than. What I liked about the story was that she was ok to talk about the downside rather than just focusing on the overcoming part of the story, talking about the realities.
These are the stories that really matter. These show that even when you are the greatest at what you do, you are not immune to mental health issues.

Of course her story has a happy ending, she is now a mother of one with another only weeks away, creating a super positive image for all fellow humans to follow.
Catching up with her afterwards, and grabbing a happy snap it was clear that despite probably delivering the speech hundreds of times – it still ran raw and that it still meant a lot to have others react in a positive way. She is a kick ass human!


Consulting group and psychology talks


After a quick bite it was back at it with our GM of our Consulting Group talking about some incredible initiatives nationwide and how they team are growing rapidly. It’s always great to see when you know someone is going to perform well in a job like Jon has done and then see the results presented and growing in a positive manner.

Then we had Dannielle, a Psychologist from Ignite Psychology. She jumped up on stage and said she was scared, nervous, worried about what she would say or how she would say it – yet through that was able to still present a stellar speech. The point of the exercise was to highlight how often we live in our minds thoughts and giving value to them rather than just letting them flow past us like water.


Homelessness in the community


In a day of highlights some of the best were saved for last. Lauren from The Big Issue spoke about the homelessness issue in Australia and in VIC. Big Issue allows those that are homeless to earn money from every issue sold and build on their job skills.
But it was Peter, a member of the Big Issue team who was homeless for many years. His delivery, wit, and scary realism really shot home how homelessness really is. He didn’t shy away from taking ownership, but pointed out that a few silly mistakes can lead to a lifetime of hardship. He has turned it around, works his backside off now and is delivering a great speech to raise awareness.


Awards Time


After our final break, we had a recap from our CEO on the days events and it was time for the State and National Awards. I love this as it shows who are the outstanding leaders in the company, because it means I know exactly who to talk to about bettering myself and my team.
I didn’t know however that I was to be a lucky recipient. Sometimes you have a sneaky suspicion you might be close but when they read my name, I was a stunned mullet.
Winning the VIC/TAS Rising Star of the year award was amazing. I’m not even going to try and play it cool or anything like that – I was doing cart wheels, double flips, handstands for the rest of the day and night… and following days. It comes with a level of expectation and responsibility that I cannot wait to try and live up to.


That’s a wrap!


And finally… it was time to wind down, have a few drinks with team Vic and Tassie, say g’day to new faces, catch up with old mates and share that positivity within the group. I’ve always said Employment Services feels like a big community, seems everyone knows everyone and for that reason it often feels like a big family. Team ORS is in good hands and I’m excited to be a part