With youth unemployment in the Illawarra at 17.6 per cent, the need to find ways to support young people is important.
Illawarra ITeC business development manager Virginia Wren said the high unemployment rate, coupled with the effects of COVID-19, was resulting in many young people not connecting as much as they had in the past. And that was resulting in an increase in anxiety and depression.
"Now more than ever, we need to look at ways to help the youth of the Illawarra," she said.
Ms Wren said research shows that staying busy and connected is one way of lowering the feelings of anxiety.
And a good way to uses such free time was to increase employability skills.
She said when things start returning to normal they can be prepared, be more employable and have an increased level of self-confidence.
She funding is provided by both the State and Commonwealth Governments for training to help increase skills and qualifications.
"If you are sitting at home demotivated and feeling despondent about your future, or if you are currently working but want to increase your skills and qualifications, then Illawarra ITeC will be able to help you with employability skills and accredited training courses."
Ms Wren said the Commonwealth Government is presently funding ITeC to deliver a three-week Employability Skills Training program to assist youth aged from 16 to 24 years with skills such as resume and application writing as well as interview techniques.
Delivered online via Zoom conferencing Ms Wren said the course has been popular in enabling young people to connect with others over a three-week basis, learn new skills, and increase their motivation and self-confidence.
"Key employers like the Novotel, IRT and The Disability Trust all Zoom into the meetings, advising the students about the different roles and responsibilities available in their businesses.
"Having Emily Squires from the Novotel, Rachel Poppet from IRT and Cathy James from The Disability Trust is wonderful, as the students get to hear firsthand about working in these organisations."
Ms Wren described the government funded training as a great opportunity for all youth presently out of work.
She said a lot of our youth struggle with what they want to do, don't have the networks to connect with other people and jobs, and don't have any idea of what types of roles and responsibilities there are available in the different industries and workplaces.
She said and some don't even have the confidence or the knowledge about how to even apply for a job. But there are jobs they can apply for even now.
"In the employability skills training we also discuss looking after your mental health and Anna from Headspace advises the students of the free services available to them through organisations like Headspace," Ms Wren said.
"This course has been so successful that there are considerations to open this up to all age groups."
Ms Squires said the Novotel will soon have new positions to fill in hospitality.
Ms James said The Disability Trust was like most organisations working in the disability and aged care sectors and always had positions becoming available.
She encouraged young people to inquire about what jobs are out there and what training they would require.
Ms Wren said Illawarra ITeC offers a suite of courses from Certificate II to Advanced Diploma level training in the areas of business, hospitality, retail, construction, the music industry, screen and media and live production.
"All courses are subsidized by the NSW Government Smart and Skilled funding. This means that if you are unemployed, it will cost anywhere from $0 to $240.00. These courses are also available to people who are currently in employment as well," Ms Wren said.
Ms Wren said for students finishing Year 12 this year and not sue what they are going to do in 2021 Illawarra ITeC also offers a two year Associated Degree of Business & Commerce through the University of Southern Queensland that is delivered in Wollongong.
"Students have the option of completing a Diploma at ITeC in the first year, largely funded by the NSW Government, leaving just 12 months to complete the Associate Degree. In affect gaining two qualifications in two years," she said.
"Should students elect to continue to a Bachelor's Degree they can do so in just a further 12 months. By taking this stepped option the cost of a Bachelors Degree is substantially reduced."
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