By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
We know the Bundaberg region has had one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the country for some time, and the rate of disengaged job seekers is a serious issue.
In June 2020 national youth unemployment hit a 23-year high of 16.4 per cent.
The Bundaberg Regional Council’s Bundaberg Jobs Commitment document states an estimated 10,000 Bundaberg residents are currently disengaged.
It found over a third of disengaged residents, an estimated 3,500, were youth aged between 15 and 24.
It is feared that if this section of the community continues this path, the inability to fill current job vacancies will constrain local business growth and encourage generational cycles of unemployment.
Not only does joblessness create economic uncertainty, but several unfavourable circumstances can be linked to unemployment.
Reduced savings and superannuation, and increased use of health services and pharmaceuticals have been identified at higher rates within the unemployed population; people have a reduced ability to buy nutritious food, housing and health care.
Lower self-esteem and loss of self-identity can also impact physical and mental health as well as reduce one’s sense of contribution to community, leading to a number of concerning behaviours including depression, domestic violence, relationship breakdowns and drug or alcohol addictions.
It comes as no surprise that a lack of employment becomes a gateway to many other social and societal issues that are also evident in our region.
Understanding the consequences of unemployment is what gives our Transition to Work team the drive to keep young people engaged in their employment journey.
Too many of our youth are leaving school and becoming comfortable in the ‘job seeker’ void between ‘school leaver’ and ‘engaged in employment’.
Proposed solutions in the council’s Jobs Commitment document involves connecting employers with the region’s youth to inspire and assist them in making work and education decisions after school.
Our Transition to Work program, an Australian Government initiative, assists school leavers and young people to understand what is expected in the workplace and develop the skills, attitudes and behaviours employers want.
We can also provide young people with access to our strong network of employers.
The dedicated team of Youth Coaches assist with identifying employment opportunities in the local area, developing practical skills to get a job, finding and participating in work experience placement opportunities, connecting with education or training, finding appropriate apprenticeship and traineeships and connecting with relevant local community services.
If you know of someone aged between 15 and 24 disengaged from education and seeking employment, phone IMPACT on 4153 4233.
Alternatively, if you are in a position to offer employment, please also get in touch.
Getting a job is pivotal to a young person’s ongoing success and wellbeing; let’s work together to improve our region’s future.
Liliana Harris was completing a hospitality course and trying to gain employment when she became involved with IMPACT’s Transition to Work program.
She said she had tried applying for jobs in the industry however wasn’t having much luck.
Liliana found the experience rather stressful and decided it was time to explore her career options and delve deeper into what she really wanted to do.
“I decided I wanted to find a job I could do from home,” she said.
“I searched from graphic design to social media and called every place I could find in the phone book that had anything to do with online work.
“I came across Catalyst Directions, phoned them and said I was looking for an apprenticeship or just a job.”
She was told that they would see what they could do.
“It took about a month until they called me back and said, ‘come in on Monday’,” she said.
Her initial interview was very relaxed and ended with a two-day trial.
Now Liliana has been working for Catalyst Directions for six months.
Liliana’s manager Andy McLucas said she had done a fantastic job over those six months of her employment.
“She has shown great initiative to not only learn the stuff that’s been put in front of her but just going above and beyond in different areas,” he said.
“She has come up with some ideas that we wouldn’t have thought of, so it’s really cool to have a young, energetic person on the team; she’s done great.”
Andy said while Liliana didn’t have any official qualifications, her willingness to want to be in the industry had shone through.
“That was enough for us to take a chance, she smashed her two-day trial and then we offered her a job the next week,” he said.
“You have to have fairly broad shoulders and take constructive criticism quite well as a designer and being in this industry, and she’s excellent at it.”
Liliana said her advice to other young job seekers was to be more goal oriented.
“There were times I was wanting to go down other avenues, but I’d be offered roles in hospitality,” Liliana said.
“But I knew that I didn’t just want any job, I wanted a specific type of job.”
She said while hospitality didn’t end up being her dream, she learnt key work and people skills along the way.
“I came across difficult people… and it helped me learn how to deal with that,” Liliana said.
She was able to develop resilience and knew that even on the hard days, her journey was worth pursuing.
“I’m really proud that I did the hospitality course because I came in a month late but ended up being the first to finish,” she said. “And that was amazing.”
Liliana said her Youth Coach Sam provided invaluable support throughout her job seeking experience.
“Just having her there to hear that the small steps I was making were still amazing really meant a lot,” she said.
“She was so supportive and would encourage me to keep at it even when I wanted to give up.”
Contact our Transition to Work team today on 0429 232 653.
IMPACT Community Services' Transition to Work team has a brand new member who is ready to hit the ground running and help Bundaberg's youth find their path to employment.
Tamara Davis, who prefers to be known as TJ, is IMPACT’s newest Youth Transition Coach and is keen to help Bundy’s unemployed youth find work.
TJ has lots of experience looking after youth at risk, having worked in the field for 10 years. She's worked at an independent high school and in out-of-home care for youth at risk.
TJ has lived in Bundaberg for a year and a half and said she’s found the perfect job.
“It’s my second week here,” TJ said, “and everyone's made me feel welcome.”
She says it’s very rewarding to work in the community service sector and looks forward to helping our youth.
“We help them address their barriers to employment, and encourage them help themselves,” she said.
The TtW team assists school leavers and young people to understand what is expected in the workplace and develop the skills, attitudes and behaviours employers are looking for. They are able to provide young people with access to their strong network of employers and can also support with:
If you 'd like to talk to TJ or any of the dedicated Youth Support Coaches at Transition to Work, IMPACT Community Services' employment support program for young people aged 15 – 24, you can visit the website https://www.impact.org.au/transition-to-work or call 0429 232 653.
IMPACT Community Services is in the business of changing lives for the better.
Here one of our Transition to Work participants shares her experience.
Transition to Work is an initiative by the Australian Government designed to help and support young people aged between 15 and 24 who are early school leavers and those who have had difficulty entering employment after school.
Find out more about Transition to Work
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi! I’m Carla and I’m 17 years old. I am currently employed at Cuppatime Café in town.
How did you become involved with Transition to Work?
I became involved with Transition to Work when I decided I no longer wanted to be in school. This was an extremely scary and hard decision, but I knew I wanted to do it because school just wasn’t for me.
What support have you been provided with?
Transition to Work staff have been extremely supportive by allowing me to achieve my goals and even push myself to exceed them. My goals are to work my way up to Manager in the hospitality industry or to own my own café! Transition to Work also supports you by providing funding for things like driving lessons, work uniforms and even course fees. Thanks to them I have completed a Certificate III in Hospitality and am currently doing a Food Safety Supervisor course.
What have been the benefits of this?
The benefits of being with Transition to Work are endless but I think one of the main ones would be the amount of opportunities you are offered within the industry you would like to become a part of. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my Youth Coach Sam.
Register now for Transition to Work by clicking here or calling 4153 4233.
IMPACT Community Services has a new weapon in the fight against Bundaberg's youth unemployment problem and her name is Katie Owen.
IMPACT's Transition to Work (TtW) team was awarded a big allotment of funded places by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, and needed some fresh minds and hands keen to take on the challenge, and Katie answered the call.
“We needed someone to replace a recently-vacated position and now Katie has come on board to be our third team member,” said TtW Team Leader Laura Bray.
“Katie has had several years experience in employment services and is a valuable addition to the team.”
Katie is a Youth Transition Coach and has a case load of 90 people that she will help move into employment or gain the appropriate training to improve their employability.
She started on July 1 and is fitting in well with the team.
“So far my experience with Transition to Work AND IMPACT has been fantastic,” Katie said.
“Sam, Troy and Laura have welcomed me into the team and made me feel right at home.
“It’s been great to see the strong relationships they’ve built with their clients where they can speak freely and know they’ll have a listening ear, ready to help. I’m very excited to see what comes next.”
It's been a good year for the TtW team, meeting all their targets.
The team was handed 93 additional funded places from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment and also got a massive referral from Services Australia (Centrelink) because of COVID-19 affecting so many people.
And the coronavirus restrictions mean that some of their work practices needed adjusting.
The regular weekly face-to-face meetings had to be scrapped and went to phone calls instead.
“We're working with COACT on developing digital services including Zoom, and online activities that participants can do to assist their efforts at gaining a job,” Laura said.
“The department is being appropriately cautious and there is no talk of going back to normal services just yet, so most things will remain digital until further notice.”
The demand for jobs is so high that the team is still looking for another member.
The TtW team assists school leavers and young people (15-24) to understand what is expected in the workplace and develop the skills, attitudes and behaviours employers want. They can provide young people with access to a strong network of employers. They also support with:
To find out more about Transition to Work call 0429 232 653 or go to https://www.impact.org.au/transition-to-work
Jessicah Mann describes herself a hard worker and someone who loves a good challenge – the perfect combination of qualities for someone enrolled in IMPACT Community Services' Transition to Work (TtW) program.
Jessicah, 21, found herself without a job and signed up for TtW. She was immediately impressed with the amount of support she received from the team.
“I got a major amount of support,” Jessicah said. “I was assigned an amazing mentor who helped update my resume and has it looking immaculate.
“I know that if I need anything at all, I just call and my mentor will help me out the best they can.”
The TtW team also helped Jessicah with the practicalities of living while looking for work.
“I've been fortunate enough to have six months of my rego paid to help with finances, and I've received fuel vouchers and uniform allowances to get me started.
“I am able to study a course knowing that I don’t have any underlying fees and don’t have to stress about my financials ... for 12 whole months!”
And the TtW support doesn't stop when you find a job. Jessicah receives regular check-ins from the team to see how she is doing in her part-time administration position and if there is any assistance she needs.
Jessicah said she would recommend TtW for anyone struggling to find employment.
“This program has helped me progress into what I want to do, to practice goal-setting and the incredible amount of support lets me know I’m not in this alone.
“If I face difficulties, I know that TtW is going to do everything in their power to help me and provide whatever assistance they can. It's been a major stress-reliever for me and has helped me on the right path on where I want to go.”
Jessicah is currently working towards moving into a new career. Thanks to the assistance from TtW she is dedicated to her goals and knows to ask for help if she hits any snags.
“TtW helped me out of a rut that I could see no way out of,” she said. “I've had regular chats about my future and what I want to do, without ever feeling like I have not been heard.
“I know I can ring my mentor whenever I need to source information or even just a listening ear. I am proud to be in this program, and am going to be really sad when I am no longer enrolled. I’m so happy that I found TTW.”
If you feel like you need a helping hand looking for a job, make the transition to work with IMPACT. Call us on 0429 232 653.
Not knowing where to start with your future career can be an overwhelming feeling for many young adults.
It’s a feeling that can cause all sorts of emotions, sometimes leaving you feeling lost or uninspired.
When Lachlan moved to Australia from New Zealand after graduating high school, he wasn't quite sure what to do next.
He had the odd casual role doing a few hours each week, but no employment direction or ideas for his future career.
Lachlan had family members within the aged care industry, but was unsure on how to get into it himself or how to get training.
Lachlan's next step was joining the Transition to Work (TtW) program.
The TtW team provided him with assistance, ranging from driving lessons to obtain his licence, to being given the opportunity to complete Certificate III in Individual Support (Aged).
Additionally, Lachlan was given clothing to complete training, resume writing assistance and general support/mentoring while completing training.
The reason behind Lachlan’s chosen new field is simple yet touching.
He enjoys the company of mature-aged people because of their knowledge and stories.
Aged care sparked a keen interest for Lachlan when working alongside his grandfather at the RSL in Surfers Paradise.
Lachlan has since completed his training and has obtained employment with an aged care facility.
Looking forward, Lachlan wants to complete a Certificate III in Allied Health.
He has plans to live independently and eventually go on a well-deserved holiday to Hawaii.
Lachlan said the Transition to Work program had changed his life.
“It changed me and gave me a better career pathway," Lachlan said.