Hunter Valley job seekers recently graduated from the local employment project which included six-weeks of hospitality mentoring and training. Following the graduation ceremony, 27 job seekers successfully gained employment at local hospitality venues, helping to meet local businesses growing workforce demands.
Among the participants was Jackson Avery, who said the project had helped him to build confidence, learn new skills and find a job at a local restaurant.
“Prior to participating in the program, I didn’t have a lot of confidence and I didn’t feel like I had the right skills to work in hospitality. After I completed the course, I had built my confidence, learned new skills and got a job working at a smokehouse nearby. If I hadn’t done the program, I don’t know where I’d be,” Jackson said.
Funded through the Australian Government's Local Recovery Fund, a part of the Local Jobs Program, the project included intensive employer consultation and job seeker pre-screening sessions prior to the six-week non-accredited training program. The 30 students enrolled in the program then went on to complete 30 hours of work placement in a local Cessnock hospitality venue, before undergoing mentoring for an additional six months.
Karla Notman, Employment Facilitator for the NSW Hunter region coordinated the project led by Smart Training and Consulting Group, in consultation with hospitality businesses in the Cessnock area.
“I was blown away by the commitment and resilience of the students to not only take the leap and do a new training program, but also to stay engaged and motivated in a heavily impacted industry throughout the pandemic,” Ms Notman said.
“The project helped to transform the lives of participants, like Jackson,” she said.
The Local Jobs Program brings together expertise, resources and access to funding at the local level to support employers, job seekers and their communities in each region. The program has a particular focus on reskilling, upskilling and employment pathways and is part of supporting Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.