Bundaberg Regional Council has teamed up with local schools and industry partners to launch the Bundaberg Jobs Commitment program.
The project is aimed at addressing long-term youth unemployment in Bundaberg by connecting disengaged youth with local employers.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said the program would work to help bridge the gap between employers and young people.
“The Bundaberg Jobs Commitment is about giving local employers a clearly defined role in helping youth to access future jobs and career opportunities in our region,” he said.
“It’s about providing youth with positive and accurate experiences necessary to transition to future employment.”
The Bundaberg Jobs Commitment is asking employers in 2020 to commit whatever time they can towards a variety of employer-led initiatives that have been designed to engage young people in career planning and decision making.
A number of local businesses and organisations have already come on board to show their support by partnering with Council on the project.
Senior business development manager at Friendly Society Private Hospital Stuart Bonnett said the project was important to help youth navigate through career pathway options.
“We know that in regional areas it is often more difficult for youth to get the range of experiences needed to make the transition from school to work,” he said.
“The Bundaberg Jobs Commitment is about our youth, their peers and families making a proactive commitment to getting the experiences, knowledge and connections necessary to start a career by exposing them to real world workplaces and opportunities so they can make informed decisions about their future career paths.”
Bundaberg State High School principal Karen McCord agreed, saying youth unemployment could be addressed by working together.
“We looked at the research on how to engage disengaged youth to improve their chances of getting a job or continuing with further education after they leave school, and the solution is rather simple,” she said.
“When youth get regular, positive exposures and experiences with employers, they have a significantly greater chance of getting employment when they eventually enter the labour market.”
General manager operations at Eden Farms Tom Redfern said he was looking forward to working with Council to address youth unemployment.
“We have about 10,000 residents disengaged from employment, education and the community with one third being aged between 15 to 24,” he said.
“Youth disengagement is arguably the main reason we suffer high youth unemployment.”
How employers can get involved
Council's executive director of strategic projects and economic development Ben Artup said the Bundaberg Jobs Commitment was about asking employers to provide opportunities for youth to get exposure and experiences directly from local employers.
“It’s about employers providing opportunities for youth to get more inspired experiences about the future of work, and even the potential for paid employment and training,” he said.
“We have spoken to many local employers who’ve all said they would engage more youth in their workplaces or through schools, but that it needed to be simple, time efficient and of course eventually help their business.”
To get involved, a range of employer options has been designed to allow local employers to manage how they become involved in the Bundaberg Jobs Commitment.
Employer options can be downloaded at www.bundaberg.qld.gov.au/bjc.
For more information about Bundaberg Jobs Commitment or if you would like to express interest in participating, [email protected].
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