A local youth work-readiness training program is proving successful with two of its current intake gaining work before they graduate.
Nine young people will today graduate from Community in the Kitchen (CITK), a program delivered by YWCA NSW. This program has been specifically designed to help address barriers to employment in the Northern Rivers region. Of the four young women and five young men that are graduating, two young men have obtained new jobs in the hospitality industry.
Lismore-based YWCA NSW program co-ordinator, Brooke Cunningham, says school was not working out for 16 year old Callum McGrory from Goonellabah but the program and TAFE has worked for him. Ms Cunningham says since his participation in the CITK program, Callum has excelled in areas such as communication, confidence and organisational skills. She says Callum has already gained paid work at the Lismore Gateway Motel and Restaurant where he did work experience for the program.
Callum says the program has changed him in many ways, from his self-awareness and morals, right through to the friends he keeps.
“Doing this course has changed me heaps,” Callum says.
“It is waking me up and making me take responsibility for myself,” he says.
“I feel older and more grown-up.”
The program is delivered in collaboration with North Coast Institute of TAFE and YWCA NSW and is free to participants through the generous funding by the Greater Building Society’s Greater Charitable Foundation. For the past four months participants have completed a Certificate II in Hospitality, 40 hours work experience with local employers, as well as life skills workshops in areas such as communication, teamwork, resilience, employer expectations, apprenticeship pathways, employment options, stress management techniques and budgeting. There are also practical sessions at North Coast Institute of TAFE’s ‘Nightcap’ training restaurant at Wollongbar.
Ms Cunningham says one of the reasons the program has been so successful since its inception in 2007 is because it focuses on the skills that local employers say they need.
“Through Community in the Kitchen we are giving young people the practical and critical skills they need to enter the world of work,” Ms Cunningham says.
The Greater Charitable Foundation has provided $245,000 over two years (2014/15) to enable the program delivery.
Expressions of Interest to join a program in the second half of the year, focusing on rural and farm skills, are currently open. An information day will be held on July 14 and the program will commence July 21.