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A group of people gathering under a rotunda on a sunny day with housing units in the background.

Late in 2016 Renewal SA’s Works Program, TAFE SA and Junction Australia launched a first-of-its-kind program that produced benefits not only for local unemployed people but community housing tenants too.

The Junction Australia Live Training Site program was established after the need to upgrade the common areas at two properties in Adelaide’s south was identified. The management of a number of SA Housing Trust properties at Percy Avenue and Bradley Grove, Mitchell Park, was transferred to community housing provider Junction Australia in 2015 following a tender process led by Renewal SA. Management of these properties was transferred to Junction Australia, which as a not-for-profit organisation has access to federal funding that Housing SA does not; funding that will ultimately allow community housing providers to upgrade properties and offer improved services to tenants.

The objective of this Works program was not only to upskill, train and provide work experience but to involve the Junction Australia-managed tenants and engender a sense of investment in and ownership of their shared space. Tenants were empowered to create a better living space for themselves by being engaged in consultation on design and participating in the program itself. The students created a functional and beautiful common area while working on an important community project, improving tenants’ quality of life and gaining a nationally-accredited qualification.

The work across both sites involved:

  • excavating the site
  • preparing and paving three new wheelchair accessible pathways along with creating a large paved area to be covered by a rotunda and raised for garden beds
  • constructing a 5×5 metre timber rotunda
  • replacing old irrigation
  • selecting and planting exotic native plants
  • removing and pruning existing plants.

Two women laughing at the community in the new outdoor common area

Junction Australia and the tenants are delighted with the results of the completed project, which was built to a high standard and has increased the residents’ sense of security, community and pride. According to tenant David, some of his neighbours have been motivated to work on beautifying their own gardens to try and make the complex look even better. In an interview with Junction Australia he said: “this idea, for me, is about not just having units where people live but creating a little community. I think there is a much better atmosphere here already… I think they’re definitely starting to feel safer, they’re feeling like they can actually participate… it’s about communication and the people who live in these houses to know that they have people they can turn to and have a chat with and that there’s nothing to be afraid of. In our area now we know that we can always rely on each other.”

To celebrate the achievements of this successful program, Junction Australia hosted a barbecue with the tenants, graduates and staff. Works team members Samantha and Jen were overjoyed to see a mix mature and middle aged tenants, including three using wheelchairs or walking frames, leave their homes and access their new garden and rotunda setting. Incredibly, some of these tenants were meeting for the first time, thanks to the renovation of their communal area. Many tenants expressed their gratitude to Renewal SA and for what the partnership has produced, and shared their plans for continuing to use the space.


Tenants were thrilled to learn Cody has already secured employment with the City of Burnside since graduating from the Works Program.

Fifteen participants completed this demanding yet rewarding eight-week program gaining a Certificate II in Horticulture with construction units, plus valuable work experience. One of the graduates, Cody, was referred through our networks with Maxima Training to the City of Burnside where he has secured a local government traineeship. Cody attended the Junction Australia barbecue and the tenants were thrilled to hear that he had already gained employment. Other students have been referred to various opportunities for work experience and employment thanks to our Works Program networks.

This Live Site Training program is just one of those producing positive outcomes for job seekers living in the south. Works Program Coordinator Melissa De Leo has worked closely with TAFE lecturers to transition Works participants into work experience and paid employment opportunities, with a number of graduates undertaking work experience through Renewal SA managed contracts at the Tonsley renewal project site.

The Works team are also excited to report that discussions have also commenced regarding running another program later in 2017 at Mitchell Park that would again see the development of a common area for social housing tenants.

We think this program is proof that Renewal SA’s Works Program works – and that the initiatives we are delivering on, such as the Works Program and transfer of tenancy management to the community housing sector, contribute to improving the lives of South Australians.

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