Innovative Window Solutions (IWS) and their partnership with Wautharong Glass through the support of GROW.
In 2015, Matthew Drake started Innovative Window Solutions. In 2019 Matthew 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. Subsequently, Matthew signed up for GROW G21 Geelong.
GROW G21 is a Network of businesses, government, community organisations and individuals working together to address disadvantages in areas of high unemployment in the G21 region.
Drake said, “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”.
The IWS team that employs a team of 25 people to supply and install windows and doors, with the help of a GROW letter of support and endorsement of their amazing values from Liz were able to tender for the Chisholm Road Prison project and address several social aims that they laid out to achieve success in the project, including how they could incorporate indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people into the project.
“Firstly, we needed to ensure we could supply their demand, i.e. 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.”, Drake said.
In making a change to their work environment, the team was able to commit to supplying 1.8% of the total contract value to Indigenous workers, recognising that they used Wathaurong glass as a local supplier and outsourced the manufacture of the steel mesh to Lyness Steel, ( a Colac based steel manufacturer in a postcode that GROW support).
On top of this, with the help of GROW, the team committed to 10% of their labour force to be Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander, whilst also committing to 25% of their labour hours to be completed by workers from disadvantaged cohorts, including GROW postcodes. 2% of the contract value was used to provide opportunities to disabled people,
In the end, the team’s overall collaboration with Wathaurong Glass resulted in amazing results. As a result, IWS has sponsored the Belmont Lions Football Club.