Anna Bligh congratulates graduates of Greater supported program

A group of local young people graduate today from a Greater Charitable Foundation sponsored work-readiness training program designed to help address barriers to employment in the Northern Rivers region.

CEO of YWCA NSW The Honourable Anna Bligh will join local Mayor Jenny Dowell to congratulate the 11 young people on taking positive steps towards entering the workforce by completing YWCA NSW’s Community in the Kitchen program.

For the past five months, the 15 to 19 year olds have completed a Certificate II in Skills for Work and Training along with life skills workshops covering areas including hospitality, sustainability, communication, teamwork, resilience, employer expectations, apprenticeship pathways, employment options, as well as healthy lifestyle choices, stress management techniques and budgeting.

This includes practical sessions working in the TAFE Training kitchen at North Coast Institute of TAFE, Wollongbar Campus.

The free program is run in collaboration with North Coast Institute of TAFE and Youth Connections North Coast, and funding contributions from the Greater Charitable Foundation.

Lismore-based YWCA NSW Program Coordinator, Brooke Cunningham said one of the reasons for the program’s success is because it has been specifically designed and refined to incorporate skills that local employers say they are seeking.

“We’ve been running this program since 2007 and we are constantly improving it by listening to feedback from graduates, families and the business community, and referring to external research such as Department of Employment reports,” Ms Cunningham said.

“Through Community in the Kitchen we are giving young people the practical and critical skills they need to enter the world of work,” she said.

A former graduate of the program will also be at the event to provide an insight into his life after Community in the Kitchen and the progress he has made. He completed the program in 2009 and is currently working in hospitality at Ballina Airport.

The Greater Charitable Foundation is providing $245,000 over two years (2014/15) to run the program. As well as providing funding, a number of local Greater Building Society staff are volunteering to support the program and other YWCA NSW initiatives in the local area.

Greater Building Society Ballina branch manager, Bronwyn Chandler, said she enjoyed sharing her career experiences and some of the lessons she has learned along the way when she recently volunteered for one of the program sessions.

“I wanted to show these young kids that others in the community do care about their future and the region’s future and to be a role model for the benefits and rewards of having a great job,” Ms Chandler said.

Expressions of interest for the next intake of the Community in the Kitchen program are currently open, with enrolments commencing in late June.


YWCA NSW is a not-for-profit organisation that is part of the worldwide YWCA network. In NSW, YWCA NSW supports vulnerable people at critical periods in their lives. Part of the fabric of Australian culture since 1880, YWCA NSW now delivers an innovative and sustainable mix of community services and programs, both independently and in conjunction with other not for profits as a collaborating partner.

YWCA NSWis focussed on prevention and early intervention strategies responding to the diverse needs of different areas of NSW as well as providing the practical support to get people back up on their feet. In so doing, YWCA NSW develops skilled and contributing individuals, supports families to create secure and resilient relationships and builds healthy and inclusive communities that are able to thrive.

For more information, please visit

About Greater Charitable Foundation

The Greater Charitable Foundation is funded from the profits from the Greater Building Society on behalf of its customers and staff. The Foundation funds practical, life-changing initiatives which directly support families and communities. It has allocated more than $4 million to charity partners since it was established in 2011. The Foundation also currently funds visits by Captain Starlight to Lismore Hospital as well as Starlight’s wish granting program to help put a smile on the face of sick children. The Greater has branches in Lismore, Ballina and Casino.