An Illawarra employment program responsible for assisting 170 youth in two years has been extended with additional funding from the NSW Government.
The Illawarra Business Chamber is appointing a new coordinator for the Illawarra YES (Youth Employment Strategy) program to support more young people into jobs.
Minister for Families and Disability Services Gareth Ward made the announcement at The Disability Trust in Coniston on Thursday.
Chamber chief director Adam Zarth said the new funding should broker 75 more jobs and fill 45 of them in the next 12 months.
Illawarra YES connects young people with the right skills and qualifications they need to secure jobs in key industries.
It has been developed in collaboration with businesses and Registered Training Organisations across many industries.
Entry level skills are identified by employers and delivered as part of a program that includes skills training, work experience and employability skills directly aligned with real job opportunities.
Mr Zarth said the skill set delivered through the NSW Government's 'Smart and Skilled' funding equips jobseekers with entry level skills required to commence work and is tailored to the needs of each industry.
The chamber was eager to be involved for a third year because the program improves educational and employment outcomes for young people.
"We have run it for two years and have brokered 150 jobs which have created the opportunities for the young people. 84 of them have secured jobs. Now we get to employ a new coordinator and we get to really kick it off again for the next 12 months".
"This is a great example of the private sector working well with government. We have the contacts through our members so we know who is looking for staff. And we know where there are skills and job shortages. The end result is bringing down youth unemployment".
In the first two years 46 new enterprises were engaged and 170 clients assisted. The young job seekers have found work in building and construction, disability support, contact centres, transport and logistics, aged care and manufacturing.
Mr Ward and Mr Zarth met participants at The Disability Trust and asked them about the experience.
Jadey Quealey said after wanting to be a teacher and finding it difficult to get into she decided to work as a teachers aid.
"I like supporting people and making a difference. This program is giving me more skills and qualifications. Today we've been given first aid training. I have also learnt about the different roles you can get in the disability sector".
Chief executive Margaret Bowen said the Disability Trust was delighted to work with its partners providing training to young people.
"It has provided experience working at The Disability Trust, in community and residential settings, for a group of eligible, suitable and genuinely interested young people," she said.
Chief financial officer Suze Mandicos said the 10 participants initially took part in a five week program that has been extended to 12.
"Wesley is proving the accredited training through the YES funding. And we sought additional funding for non accredited training which is more about life skills such as readiness for work," she said.
"We are providing a whole wrap around in terms of accredited skills sets and then also what is expected to succeed in the workforce and participate in our sector".
Mr Ward said he was involved in securing funding for the program in 2016 when he was the Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and recognised there was an issue to do with youth unemployment in the region that needed addressing.
"Simply hoping it was going to go away was never going to be the answer," he said.
Mr Ward said it was great to be able to fund a new full-time position so the chamber can link into more businesses who might like to participate and have more young people in their workforce.
"My message to business is simple. Embrace young people and tap into their energy by taking the opportunity to train them up. This is a real investment in business and youth," he said.