For the Hunter region’s unemployed youth, maintaining the motivation to just get out of bed in the morning can be an enormous challenge. Confidence and personal feelings of self worth can take a battering when you’re new to the job market and struggling to find a job. It can become a vicious circle, making it even more difficult to enter the workforce.
From the many young people Workskil Australia works with in the Hunter, there is an overwhelming desire to make valuable contributions to the community. The vast majority of young job seekers are passionate and ambitious about finding employment. They’re keen to break the unemployment cycle and get hands-on experience to make them work ready.
While there are varying opinions in the community about Work for the Dole, the best form of welfare is a job and the national program provides local youths with that opportunity. Work for the Dole helps job seekers learn skills and enter the workforce through volunteer work. By building social and technical skills, developing personal networks and reconnecting with the workforce, local youths are helping organisations to undertake important community projects.
Various projects underway in the Hunter include renovating Newcastle’s old lighthouse cottage and resourcing the retail operations of Lifeline Hunter Central Coast. Young people get feedback on work expectations, work references and the opportunity to improve in a supportive work placement.
As one of the employment services agencies appointed to help deliver this government program, Workskil Australia has placed more than 700 job seekers into Work for the Dole across the Hunter. The challenge is to encourage more organisations to become involved, as the more organisations that engage with young job seekers, the more the community as a whole will benefit.
- Nicole Dwyer is chief executive officer of Workskil Australia