by Alina Rylko
AN EXCITING new job training program linking local unemployed youth with Tweed businesses is afoot.
Sixteen eager participants have already signed up to Community Connections, a collaboration between Cabarita Youth Service (CYS), CONNECT Northern Rivers and Kingscliff TAFE.
The program aims to help youth "disengaged with school or work, and fed up sitting around” to help find a career path into sustainable and, ultimately, paid employment.
So far, job seekers have indicated they are keen to do work experience in hairdressing, hospitality, sound engineering, make-up trades, IT, childcare and marine biology industries.
Tweed Shire councillor James Owen is promoting the program, calling on potential host employers to get involved.
Established small and large enterprises are being encouraged to take on the participants, aged 15 to 20, in an unpaid work experience capacity.
"This is an initial pilot program, and if it is successful we will expand it, so we really need businesses to come forward,” Cr Owen said.
"Local business owners will get an enormous sense of wellbeing for helping out our young people, who will in turn have an opportunity to develop their skills, show their loyalty and passion.”
It took the former Sydney Northern Beaches professional a year to find Tweed-based work, when he moved to the area two years ago.
"I know how hard it can be for young people, particularly those that don't fit in the 'normal education' box, or those that struggle at school.”
"It was pretty daunting for me.”
Participants are expected to spend at least 10 hours a week, over 10 weeks, with a host employer to get practical, hands-on experience and mentoring.
Participants will also attend Tafe NSW Kingscliff once a week for six weeks to earn a training certificate.
The certificate provides participants with practical skills in customer service, communications and workplace safety.
Anyone interested is urged to contact Cabarita Youth Service social worker Chris Hitchcock on 0423872870.