Today marked a significant day for four long-term unemployed residents who started their first day of work in at least three years.
The Council designed, federally funded, Regional Employment Trial program supported 15 participants over the last 10 weeks to expose them to a range of experiences that will set them up for success, through taster courses and site visits.
Program coordinator Ben Artup, Bundaberg Regional Council’s Executive Director Strategic Projects and Economic Development, said it was great to see the four long-term unemployed reach this important milestone today at the Friendlies Hospital, with the remaining participants also starting their careers around the region this week.
“Following funding last year, in January we started supporting and assisting a number of mature-aged, long-term unemployed to develop their networks and connections across a range of industries,” Ben said.
“While it’s great for our region, we also see it assisting in building a pilot that could be replicated nationally.”
Long-term unemployed pilot could expand
Ben said the participants, most of whom have been unemployed or under-employed between three and five years, have now commenced a work trail that will set them up for future success.
“They see there are opportunities out there and new ways to approach their job search,” he said.
“They are now more aware of employment and career pathways in industries they never thought to investigate, have built a larger network of contacts and are more aware of the language and skills that employees look for.
“The program has exposed them to new ideas and experiences so they can make informed decisions on new career areas.”
While at CLS’s AT_Makerspace the group used design software with the aim of increasing their understanding of the use of technology in agriculture, health and construction.
“They linked with a CNC machine to make a small table, built and programmed a sensor controller for a fan and a ground moisture sensor,” Ben said.
“It really opened their eyes to what was possible and the types of careers that are in our region, due to new technology.”
These practical workshops have been supported with work site visits to many Bundaberg region businesses and organisations.
They include JRZ Homes, Bill Moorhead Family Communities, Greensill Farms, Eden Farms, Dons Fort Packing, Southern Cross Support Services, Blue Care, Wide Bay Hospital and Health Services and the Friendly Society Private Hospital.
At a visit today to the Friendly Society Private Hospital Senior Manager – Business Development Stuart Bonnett said they were committed to the program.
“The Friendlies have always provided work experience opportunities for our school aged youth and when the opportunity came up to do something similar for our more mature job seekers we were right behind it,” Stuart said.
“Their visit here today gives participants an insight into the Health Industry, one of the growing areas of employment currently, and will help them make informed decisions about how to progress their career.”
Across the program’s delivery, CQUniversity have also been engaging with participants to help in understanding the employment needs and barriers of the participants and helping identifying ways to meet these.
Impact Community Services have also provided the Regional Employment Trial program with a home base where participants have taken part in several small workshops and discussions related to the changing work environment and the skill sets needed now and into the future.
Next program starts on 24 March
The next 11-week Regional Employment Trial program for mature aged long-term unemployed will start on 24 March.
Expressions of interest are now open and any mature, long-term unemployed people wanting to be involved should contact their employment service provider for a referral.
If you would like more information on the program you can contact the RET Project Facilitator Andrea Bax on 4130 4175 or talk with your Job Active or Parent Next provider.
The Regional Employment Trial program (RET) is a partnership between Bundaberg Regional Council and Federal Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.
It is supported by key stakeholders including TAFE, CQUniversity, Community Lifestyle Support, Impact Community Services and industry partners.
- More news: Program to tackle long-term unemployment