Sustineo was engaged in 2014 to evaluate and summarise the maturation of the Real Jobs Program (RJP). The evaluation focused on assessing the models of program delivery against desired impacts and identify recommendations and innovations that support future improvement to the RJP. This encompassed the effectiveness and efficiency of the support, funding and models of service delivery with reference to employment achievement, skill development, enterprise development, sustainable land management, and other unexpected outcomes.
Sustineo undertook this project based on an engaged, meaningful and participatory approach. Underpinning this was respect for and understanding of the social, political and cultural context in which we work. Based on our experience working in Indigenous communities, the evaluation team designed a mixed-method approach to assess the sustainability, impact, and long-term viability of the RJP. The team undertook an extensive document review, designed and administered a survey, and conducted 19 site visits meeting with 76 different program stakeholders through a participative engagement process. The evaluation assessed the effectiveness of the Program, and analyse the outputs, outcomes and benefits that have been achieved. The evaluation was conducted collaboratively with the ILC, whose input and validation was included in all evaluation activities to ensure the final evaluation met their expectations and needs.
The direct engagement with remote community members, RJP participants, and Indigenous employers, added a lot of value in enhancing the evaluation findings. This was particularly in relation to drawing on the lessons learnt from stakeholders with a success stories to tell. The approach to engagement was based on respect for diversity of culture, abilities and experience with data collection methods employed depending on situational appropriateness.
Sustineo provided a comprehensive final evaluation report that identified the core successors, challenges and enablers of the RJP. These factors informed the provision of detailed recommendations to increase value for money, program efficiency and sustainability of the RJP. These key recommendations were noted as being extremely useful for the ILC Board regarding the strategic direction of the program and definition of the parameters of future program guidelines.