Youth jobs get a YES

Article image - Youth jobs get a YES Richmond Valley’s 2019 YES intake and mentors.

Fourteen Richmond Valley high school students will this year join the ranks of the New South Wales council’s award-winning Youth Employment Strategy (YES).

The latest crop of 2019 trainees and apprentices brings the total to 74 local youths given the opportunity to live and work in their community.

YES was formed in 2013 when the community prioritised providing more youth employment opportunities in the Community Strategic Plan, as well as the need for Council to future-proof its workforce.

General Manager, Vaughan Macdonald, said Council was an employer of choice within the local community and would continue to develop and promote YES to attract a diverse workforce reflective of the community profile.

He said by gaining skills, dependence on welfare was reduced, and having a stable income and job also reduced social risks.

“Employment remains the top priority for our community, particularly youth employment to retain our talent and future leaders in the region.”

Council started using the apprenticeship and traineeship system in 1999 with a single engineering apprentice and to date has had more than 150 employees receive their training under this arrangement.

Council works cohesively with Southern Cross University, North Coast TAFE, State Training, and VERTO Apprenticeships Centre to help deliver its annual training plan.

Council plans to focus on attracting young women to the program trialling a Try a Trade Week program earlier this year to encourage women’s interest.

“The majority of our tradespeople are men, and while we have had some success in attracting some talented young women to trade work, we would like to build on this and encourage more.”

Council also boasts a growing number of Aboriginal employees, who were enjoying opportunities created following the development of the Aboriginal Employment Strategy in 2009 and is a supporter of the Elsa Dixon Aboriginal Employment Program, a State Government initiative encouraging job opportunities and career advancement for Aboriginal people.

“Economic development and local employment are top priorities for the community, and Council is committed to being a key enabler for the Richmond Valley’s economic future.”