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Around 140 people, representing over 85 businesses, recently participated in a Bundaberg Business Forum to hear about programs that are available to help employ more youth in the Wide Bay region.
The event, co-hosted by the Bundaberg and Surrounds Business Chamber and the Department of Jobs and Small Business, brought employers together to discuss programs and strategies to tackle youth unemployment.
The broader Bundaberg region recently recorded the second highest rate of youth unemployment in Australia.*
As part of the event, Employment Liaison Officer Sandee Harris interviewed Alison Norton, HR Coordinator from Bundaberg Motor Group about her recent experience with the Youth Jobs PaTH program.
Youth Jobs PaTH is an Australian Government initiative to support young people to gain the skills and work experience they need to get and keep a job.
Alison said by utilising the PaTH program, Bundaberg Motors had hired three new young people and is likely to take on more in the future.
‘When a well-known local business like Bundaberg Motors shares their experience firsthand, it really helps more businesses see how they can also use programs like PaTH to give young people more opportunities,’ Sandee said.
Representatives from the Department also met with local NDIS and health care businesses, to look at how employment programs can assist with their recruitment needs.
A cross-agency meeting further explored local youth employment opportunities and issues.
It was the Business Forum that really got people talking, though.
‘It was the largest event of its kind in about four years,’ Sandee said, ‘which demonstrates how committed these local businesses are to addressing the issue of youth unemployment.’
The Department’s Strategic Engagement Team will continue to work with Wide Bay businesses and employment services providers to increase opportunities for young people in the region.
*Based on Wide Bay ABS Statistical Area 4 data, which showed a youth unemployment rate of 29.0% in April 2018.