How a humble caravan builds skills and saves lives

The handiwork and collective vision of a group of determined Employment Plus candidates has culminated in a sparking new mobile home for men’s health services.

Under the direction of Envision Employment Services, the Work for the Dole participants worked over a period of six months to refurbish an old caravan on behalf of the Men’s Shed Association of Victoria.

“At the start of the year the same caravan was retired in someone’s backyard, housing a rich collection of pests, rubbish and unwanted appliances,” explained Garry Brennan, Salvation Army Employment Plus’ Work for the Dole Coordinator.

“The team worked tirelessly together to remove of all the interior fittings, stripping it down to the sub-frame, reconditioning the frame, rebuilding the inside and finishing off the sparkling exterior.”

Garry was joined by Employment Plus’ Managing Director Greg Moult, the State Member for Dandenong, local councilors and program supporters in applauding the work of the team as they handed the keys to the completed project over to the Men’s Shed Association.

“The job seekers not only gained marketable skills from their experience, but also discovered first-hand the value of a team approach to the production process,” said Greg Moult.

“From the 26 candidates that took part in the project, seven of them have already gone on to secure full-time employment thanks to the boost to their resume.”

The primary purpose of the new mobile site is to be a home to vital men’s health checks and encourage conversations about men’s health and wellbeing. The caravan will also be used as a mobile training facility providing occupational health and safety education and computer training to members.

There are currently 325 Men’s Shed locations across Victoria and the caravan will play a crucial temporary home for sites that are in their establishment phase and yet to have a permanent base for members to meet.

Over 12 months Envision is handing over 12 caravans to 12 community groups, each one providing skills and confidence to jobseekers. And, each continuing to change lives in the community.