An innovative new approach to finding work for the long term unemployed will be trialled in the Bundaberg Region as part of a national program.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said it was an exciting opportunity for Bundaberg Region job seekers to be part of building a blueprint that could benefit unemployed people throughout the country.
Bundaberg Regional Council has successfully secured Australian Government Regional Employment Trial (RET) funding to make it one of 10 areas in the country to participate.
“Council has successfully secured this funding which means our region will be at the forefront of breaking the unemployment cycle,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“The program won’t just put program participants in jobs.
“It will engage them with the workforce and give them exposure to positive experiences in areas they’re actually interested in.
“We believe this has the potential to make a real difference for residents that are disengaged with the workforce and have been so for an extended period of time.”
National program trial to help long term unemployed
Under the program 30 residents will be able to take part in the trial, with participants determined to be long term unemployed if they have been out of work for three years or more.
The funding will allow for a full time RET officer to be employed under a six month contract, a position which Council hopes to have filled by December.
The first 15 participants will start the program in January with a second cycle of participants to follow.
A number of organisations and industry representatives have pledged their support to the RET program locally.
“Tackling long term unemployment has the best chance of success when taking a whole of community approach with residents, government, trainers and employers working together,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“Industry partners will give participants on the job experience in areas of interest while access to the Makerspace and its facilitators will provide inspiration and open up a world of possibilities for future training and education.
“Education partners will make ‘taster’ courses available so participants can get a real understanding of potential career paths and how to get there.”
Community and industry partners support program
Impact Community Services is one of the key project partners that will act as primary employment service provider. Throughout the project council will also be promoting the program to other employment service providers in the Bundaberg region to refer suitable job seekers for this opportunity.
Impact manager grants and tenders Nathan Spruce said it was exciting to be part of this new collaborative approach.
“The real benefit of RET is that you are allowed to come up with an innovative idea that tackles a local issue,” Nathan said.
“You are able to tailor your solution to the needs of job seekers within the Bundaberg Region.
“The important thing is it is a successful program to help long term job seekers in to employment by providing them with the experience and the opportunity and the exposure.”
He said reports on the findings from the 10 RET approved areas could help to shape government decision making around future programs.
“It’s important to be able to show that tailored programs can have an impact locally.
“This program can then hopefully be used to inform policy later down the line.”
Nathan said Impact was well placed to support Council throughout this process, already offering the JOBFit program with similar goals.
Community Lifestyle Support (CLS) CEO Damien Tracey said participants would benefit from the use of the makerspace throughout the program.
“For the past 12 months CLS has been working with CQUniversity to explore ways to incorporate practical hands-on ‘maker’ activities to help long term unemployed young people build skills, overcome fears, and broaden their perceptions of what they can achieve,” Damien said.
“When Bundaberg Regional Council approached us to take part in their RET initiative, we jumped at the opportunity to further develop and refine this model.
“The RET participants will have the opportunity to identify, plan and develop products and solutions with support from highly skilled supervisors including allied health professionals, qualified trades persons and technology specialists.”
The Regional Employment Trial program (RET) is a joint partnership between Council and Federal Government Department of Employment Skills, Small and Family Business and is supported by key stakeholders including TAFE, CQUniversity, Community Lifestyle Support, Impact Community Services and industry partners.
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