One of the first job projects in the Hunter using the Australian Government’s Local Recovery Fund is underway.
Under the Jobs in the Valley & Vines: Transforming Lives mentoring and employment project, 30 jobseekers are completing six weeks of skill-based training and 30 hours work placement in hospitality.
Hunter Employment Facilitator, Karla Notman, said the project is a first for the region from the Hunter’s $780,000 fund, which is part of the government’s Local Jobs Program.
She said the project has been developed in consultation with hospitality businesses in the Cessnock area for one of the program’s priority targets – young people.
“Participants are learning practical, in demand skills such as pouring a beer, making coffee, carrying a tray of drinks, as well as skills to communicate with patrons and customers,” Karla said.
“After the participants complete the project there will be more than 40 jobs on offer from local Cessnock employers in fine dining, cellar door, and in local pubs and clubs.
“The program’s Hunter Jobs and Skills Taskforce held its meeting at the training venue (Cessnock Leagues Club) last month to observe the project in action.”
“The industry is telling us that international COVID-19 border closures mean that they are struggling to find skilled local people to fill these positions.”
The project is being delivered for the Taskforce by Smart Training and Consulting Group in partnership with employment service provider Joblink Plus.
One of the project participants is single mum of four, Jessie-Ray. Due to parenting commitments, she has been out of the workforce for 15 years.
Jessie-Ray said that when searching for work during COVID-19, entry-level jobs become harder to access and it had a big impact on her confidence in getting back into the workforce.
“What I’m loving about this program is that I am able to learn so many skills in a practical way,” Jessie-Ray said.
“So, it has been so much easier to really master exactly what I need to do in a workplace and has made me so much more confident,” she said.
Karla is calling on other Hunter region employers, from all industries, who wish to be involved in workforce development and job creation projects to get in touch.
“We welcome employers’ industry insights, ideas and project proposals,” Karla said.
In the Federal Budget, the government announced the extension of the $276 million Local Jobs Program by three years to 2025.
It is also expanding the reach of the program from 25 to all 51 employment regions across Australia from 1 July 2021.
Karla and other facilitators will be working on-the-ground to support employers and job seekers to connect with employment and training opportunities.
The Hunter Local Jobs and Skills Taskforce includes:
- Karla Notman (Chair), Hunter Employment Facilitator
- Liana Nadalin, Training Services NSW
- Evan Steverson, Regional NSW
- David Broughton, Salvation Army Employment Plus
- Tim Owen, Hunter Defence
- Viv Allanson, Maroba
- Mikhaila Halford, Ampcontrol
- Mikaella Latimore, Life Without Barriers
- Amy De Lore, Hunter Business Chamber
- Simon Massey, City of Newcastle, supported by Hunter Joint Organisation
IMAGE | Members of the Hunter Local Jobs and Skills Taskforce and training project participants at Cessnock Leagues Club.