Applications are now open for the State Government's Back to Work employment program which has already helped more than 1700 people in the Bundaberg Region into work.
The $140 million program aims to support thousands of Queenslanders to get – and keep – jobs.
Minister for Employment and Small Business Di Farmer said the refreshed program, unveiled in this year’s State Budget, would provide greater access to on-the-ground support for employers and disadvantaged job seekers.
She said investing in skills and backing small business was at the heart of tehe state's COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.
“We fund these job creating initiatives not only because they provide vital career opportunities to Queenslanders, but because they help small businesses too: over 80% of employers benefiting from Back to Work are small businesses,” Minister Farmer said.
“Across the state small businesses are telling me that trying to get people to fill the jobs they have is a major challenge.
“Since 2016, the Back to Work program has seen more than 25,500 people get into work because of the assistance provided to more than 12,000 employers.”
Member for Bundaberg Tom Smith said the Back to Work program had made a big difference in the region.
“Since 2016 over $18.2 million has helped 1730 people get jobs across 765 businesses here in Bundaberg,” Mr Smith said.
“This program helps all Queenslanders, but especially our young people in Bundaberg looking for their first job.”
Mr Smith said as Queensland entered the latest phase of economic recovery, the Back to Work program would include additional support for employers and job seekers to support long-term and sustainable employment.
“The focus will be on those job seekers who experience significant disadvantage in the labour market, who often require more intensive support to find a job,” Mr Smith said.
“There will be Back to Work support payments of up to $15,000 to eligible businesses who employ an eligible job seeker including the long term unemployed, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and those with disability.
“There will be a $20,000 Youth Boost payment for eligible businesses to employ an eligible Queenslander aged between 15- 25.
“This is all part of our focus on getting our young people in Bundaberg into jobs.
“These payments will create genuine, long-term employment outcomes.”
One of the businesses to benefit from the Back to Work program is Bundaberg's Queensland Computers.
Owner and director Geoff Augutis said the program had helped the business grow and provide computer services to a greater number of local clients.
“Through the Back to Work program the business engaged two employees and now under the revitalised program I plan to hire two more staff members,” Geoff said.
“Back to Work has meant that rather than seeking to employ the already sought-after skilled talent pool, we have been able to hire people who are looking to train or re-train knowing that we have the financial buffer in the role to take our time and support those team members to learn and succeed.”
In addition to the financial employer incentives, a new range of intensive support for both job seekers, employers and their employees will be available.
“We’ve made a number of changes in response to specific feedback we received after speaking with thousands of businesses at the Small Business Roadshow earlier this year,” Minister Farmer said.
“We’ve also added more elements to the program – including a range of intensive support to ensure both job seekers and businesses have what they need to succeed.
“This wraparound support will not only help businesses recruit workers, but, vitally, to retain them too.”
The support includes flexible approaches to provide employers and job seekers with the assistance and skills to successfully navigate job outcomes. The new approach will include utilising short courses, screening tools and workplace adjustments through the program’s network of support officers.
The application cap on employers reset to zero on 1 July 2021. This means an eligible employer may make a further four applications under the revitalised Back to Work program.
For more information about the program visit qld.gov.au/backtowork