Good news story – Innovative Window Solutions

Matthew Drake, Director of Innovative Window Solutions (IWS) and Kelsey Baglin Project Co-ordinator have provided this story about Social Procurement (Spend Local/Spend Social) targets for the Chisholm Road Prison build.

Please provide a brief background and some context:

About the time Matt started in 2019, he attended a Geelong Manufacturing Council event where he met Liz Everist and heard about GROW’s aims to make changes to business practices to give those in our community doing it tough the opportunity to change their lives.

‘We’ve always felt passionate about upskilling people that want a second chance; if they are willing to work and learn and try, we’re willing to back them.’

What steps did you take to make a change?

IWS employ a team of 25 supply and install windows and doors. In tendering for the Chisholm Road Prison project they were keen to address the social procurement aims laid out and Liz assisted them by supplying a GROW letter of support endorsing their values, actions and clear intentions to assist those with barriers to employment.

“Firstly, we needed to ensure we could supply their demand ie skilled workers and then address the tender criteria. It was quite a bit of work but well worth it. We were successful in winning the tender and are delighted to say we are now smashing our targets.”

What was different after the change?

Kelsey explains, ‘We committed to supplying 1.8% of the total contract value to be indigenous workers. We used Wathaurong glass as a local supplier and outsourced the manufacture of the steel mesh to Lyness Steel; a Colac based steel manufacturing business in a postcode that GROW support.’

They committed to 10% of their labour force to be Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander people and already have employed workers that have completed twice that amount ie 490 hrs (and they’re only halfway through the project!)

‘We also committed to 25% of our labour hours to be completed by workers from disadvantaged cohorts including GROW postcodes. That requirement was for 545 hours and we’re currently sitting on 340 hours with four months to go until completion.’

Two per cent of the contact value was to give opportunities to people with disability. The team talked about this internally sharing the aims of GROW with all their staff.

‘Given most disability is invisible and not everyone chooses to identify as a person with disability. Because we were being so transparently inclusive some existing staff felt safe enough to share their situations with us (eg chronic illness & mental illness) which we’re extremely proud of. We then talked to them about any reasonable adjustments they might need in order to undertake their roles to ensure they feel supported.’

What was the outcome?

“Our collaboration with Wathaurong Glass has been one of the best outcomes for us. We are now sponsoring their Indigenous football team and intend to become more involved with the football club as a place to meet and support young Indigenous people.”

Photos: Matthew Drake, Director of Innovative Window Solutions (IWS) and project completed – Lifestyle Communities Mount Duneed