Colin Stimpson of social enterprise Picking and Warehousing Solutions (PAWS) was the guest speaker at the club meeting on December 1st.
PAWS' mission is to convert unemployable young people into successful job seekers in the logistics sector. It operates a warehouse and distribution centre in Dandenong South. The enterprise provides dependable pick/pack logistics services at competitive rates. Donations from clothing retailers of end of line stock are sorted, classified and marketed via the PAWS website and on eBay. The enterprise is self-funded, receiving no government assistance and, at least at present, little in the way of cash donations. Funding comes almost entirely through the profits made on sales.
Young people are referred for employment at PAWS from the juvenile justice system and registered care providers (DHS Berry Street). In most cases they have come from dysfunctional family backgrounds, have been convicted of usually petty crimes and are at high risk of re-offending and becoming habitual criminals.
PAWS employs those referred, teaching them work skills, life coping skills and restoring self respect. The average length of employment for each individual is six weeks and 75% of those referred go on to employment elsewhere.
Rotarians can help through the donation of unsold clothing items, referral of clients who are seeking competitive pick/pack logistics services and through the provision of skilled volunteers, especially in the area of website development, communications and bookkeeping. PAWS can also help Rotarians seeking logistics staff for their own operations.