GETTING TO WORK: Mylife program participants James Nixon, Wayne Smith and Caringa employee Mick McKenzie load up a delivery of books for their Books and Gifts Direct franchise, which was named Most Improved in Australia/NZ.
GETTING TO WORK: Mylife program participants James Nixon, Wayne Smith and Caringa employee Mick McKenzie load up a delivery of books for their Books and Gifts Direct franchise, which was named Most Improved in Australia/NZ. Adam Hourigan

Franchise named most improved of more than 200

IN JUST two years, Caringa's Mylife clients have turned the Grafton-based Books and Gifts Direct franchise on its head.

So much so, that they have been recognised as the most improved of more than 200 franchises in Australia and New Zealand.

Caringa Enterprises support worker Mick McKenzie said a small group of representatives from the franchise group, believed to be the only not-for-profit franchise in the company, travelled to Sydney for the annual awards earlier this year but had no idea they would be bringing home a trophy for most improved business.

"The guys were so excited when they brought it back," he said.

Mr McKenzie said the not-for-profit organisation decided to take on a franchise a couple of years ago as a way to help their Mylife clients interact socially in the business world.

Each day he takes out one of three participants who help him deliver book and gift packages to businesses from Iluka to Sawtell.

Other program participants, meanwhile, pack and prepare boxes for the next day's deliveries.

"It's just a program for the guys to get into the community and a bit of independence for them which is what Mylife promotes," he said.

"My role is to teach them time management and how to approach a business, but also to interact with other businesses. One of the guys that comes out with me, (Wayne Smith), independently does about five or six businesses in Maclean now.

"It just gives them a lot more confidence."



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