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WorkVentures comes up trumps in PM's citizenship awards

20 October, 2005 | Archived Post

SYDNEY, Australia, 20 October 2005

Press Release:
Sydney, Australia - Thursday, 20 October 2005: Microsoft Australia today paid tribute to its community partner of 19 years, WorkVentures Group (WorkVentures) after the Prime Minister last night honoured the organisation with a 2005 Award for Excellence in Community Business Partnership.

At a ceremony held in Melbourne yesterday, the Prime Minister presented WorkVentures and Microsoft Australia with a special award for longevity in recognition of their enduring community business partnership. Throughout the partnership Microsoft has actively supported WorkVentures to provide unemployed people with IT training aimed at helping them to enter the workforce and secure careers.

“This is an outstanding accolade for an outstanding community organisation that has done so much to help the unemployed gain the contemporary skills and experience they need to be a part of Australia's workforce,” said Sarah Hatcher, Director of Corporate Citizenship, Microsoft Australia.

“The sheer numbers of people - of which there are over 14,000 so far - who have found jobs or gone on to undertake further training after completing a WorkVentures/Microsoft supported IT training and employment programme is testimony to what the business and community sectors can achieve when we combine our resources, expertise, innovative spirit and passion for helping people to reach their full potential,” said Ms Hatcher.

Microsoft's also supports 13 Community Technology Learning Centres (CTLCs) run by WorkVentures. The Centres, which use a special training curriculum developed under Microsoft's Unlimited Potential initiative, promote life long learning opportunities to well over 10,000 residents in disadvantaged communities.

As a Microsoft Authorised Refurbisher, WorkVentures has also distributed over 4,000 low cost PCs to schools, community groups and low-income households throughout Australia.

Ms Hatcher said that the business sector had a vital role and responsibility to help strengthen social cohesiveness and create positive, life-long outcomes for Australians.

“Technology has been a great liberator in terms of empowering people to share information and ideas, and has brought communities closer together. Yet despite the pervasiveness of technology today, there are still sections of the community that cannot readily access the benefits of technology. This is primarily because they don't have access to modern computer equipment and software, or even if they do, they may not have the requisite skills to use it.

“By working together with organisations like WorkVentures, we can help the digitally excluded become digitally included,” she said.

Having become Microsoft's first community partner in 1986, WorkVentures is now one of five community partners under Microsoft Australia's Unlimited Potential Programme. Through Unlimited Potential, Microsoft aims to increase computer literacy among all members of the population regardless of age, background, education, location or socio-economic status. Microsoft supports more than 190 Unlimited Potential Community-based Technology Learning Centres (CTLCs) located in rural and urban areas throughout Australia, and the number of supported Centres is growing.

“Significant relationships have been key to this partnership from the beginning,” said Steve Lawrence, Chief Executive of WorkVentures. “From the Managing Director down, with Microsoft we have made a real impact on a community problem that a small organisation could never have done alone”.

The Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Community Business Partnership reward and recognise those businesses and community organisations which come together to generate outcomes that have a long-term benefit for the community.

For further information on WorkVentures or to find out more about the training and employment service that are available, please visit: http://www.workventures.com.au.

For more information on the Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Community Business Partnership, please visit: www.partnerships.gov.au

To learn more about Unlimited Potential and Microsoft Australia's other community initiatives, please visit: /australia/corpaffairs/corpcit/default.aspx

-ends-

About WorkVentures
WorkVentures is a social enterprise based in Sydney whose vision is to ?Build Communities that Work' by bringing government, business and communities together to solve social and economic problems and release the underutilised capability in unemployed and disadvantaged people and their communities.

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.

For more information or to arrange an interview with Sarah Hatcher, Microsoft Australia's Director of Corporate Citizenship, please contact:

Ben Tan/Kieran Moore
Howorth Communications
Tel: 02 8281 3830 or 0418 488 827
Email: howorth@howorth.com.au

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