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Program focuses on local youth employment

Video: Paul Donaldson

Bundaberg Region businesses are being asked to assist with a new youth employment program helping young school leavers gain experience for future work.

Bundaberg Jobs Commitment is an industry-led program in partnership with Bundaberg Regional Council, all nine local high schools including Bundaberg State High School and a range of local businesses.

Mayor Jack Dempsey met with representatives today to discuss plans for the program and how it will help the region's youth become more engaged in gaining skills for employment.

“This is about schools and industry working together with the local community for the benefit of our young people to be able to break the cycle of youth unemployment,” he said.

“When program's like this are industry driven and connected through the community, we know we can get great results.”

Mayor Dempsey said through schools and businesses working together, the program would provide young people with a direct link to learning what is needed in the workforce.

“We know now that young people finishing school are becoming disengaged,” he said.

“This program allows us to partner youth with local businesses to bring experiences forward and to get young people gaining skills, a greater understanding of work ethic and providing more options available to them when they leave school.”

Bundaberg State High School principal Karen McCord said programs like Bundaberg Jobs Commitment were important in making a difference for students transitioning from school to work.

She said recent data had shown there was a great need for assistance in linking youth to the local business community.

“The government has been tracking our kids leaving Year 12 and what we have found is that there is always a group of kids who never transition from school into anything,” she said.

“Out of the 37 students who left Bundy High at the end of 2018, in March of last year 37 students did not have a job post-school.

“When we analysed the data further, 35 of those students had never had a job at high school.

“The conversation I have now been having with my kids is trying to make them understand that you actually need experience if you  think you are going to leave school and get a job.”

Youth employment
Chris Kettle, Mayor Jack Dempsey, Karen McCord, Tom Redfern, Jo Donnison and Stuart Bonnett at Eden Farms to launch Bundaberg Jobs Commitment, a program focused on youth employment in the region.

Stuart Bonnett, Business Development Manager at Friendlies Society Private Hospital, said the health industry was keen to offer support to those wanting more information about future careers.

“Our responsibility is to offer the youth of Bundaberg the experience of a workplace and arm them with information to make informed decisions about future careers paths,” he said.

“Health is a growing area, for Bundaberg especially.

“We employ over 540 people in our hospital and there is plenty of opportunity there right from cleaners to cafe, to pharmacy through to nursing and doctors as well.”

Youth employment program suits individual needs

Mayor Dempsey said the Bundaberg Jobs Commitment program was not a one-size-fits-all approach.

He said instead, businesses had the opportunity to offer whatever they could to assist Bundaberg's youth gain skills and experience for employment.

“It might be a day, it might be a week, it might be more,” he said.

“This is a program that caters to the individual needs of those youth and what they wish to achieve.”

To find out how your business can get involved click here or email amber.lutter@bundaberg.qld.gov.au.

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