A new program offering young job-seekers the opportunity to combine their passion with a paid job is kicking goals in Port Stephens, with Raymond Terrace's Jess Drummond landing her dream job after a period of being unemployed.
Jess, 19, is two months into a casual retail position with Big W at Raymond Terrace MarketPlace under the Youth Jobs PaTH program run by not-for-profit employment services provider Workskil Australia.
Under the PaTH program, Workskil helps place job-seekers in a business for a short period of time at no cost to the employer, but with the prospect of future employment at the end of the trial.
Jess completed a four-week trial with Big W in November and her diligence saw her get offered a permanent casual position and the prospect of future full-time work.
“I finished Year 12 in 2017 and after a short stint working at a service station I found it difficult getting another job. That was until I met (employment consultant) Lara Nesbitt from the Workskil office at Raymond Terrace,” the former Irrawang High student said.
“Their guidance and support has been amazing. They set me on the right path and now I love coming to work. The Big W staff have also been very helpful and friendly.”
Big W relief store manager Sue Holland said that the PaTH program offered many benefits and that Jess had been a perfect fit for the store.
“During the trial period we were able to provide Jess with induction and on-the-job training and since starting as a casual she has spent time in customer service and sales. We are very happy with her progress,” Ms Holland said. “We have already organised to take on another trainee.”
Jess is just one of many job-seekers aged 17-24 in the Port Stephens area to benefit from the PaTH program, says internship coordinator Andy Litten.
“There are multiple benefits to both the job-seeker and the employer,” Litten said.
"During the trial insurance arrangements are covered by the government and employers receive a $1000 payment, while the job-seeker receives an additional $200 per fortnight in their government allowance for participating. It's a win-win situation.”
Workskil's Raymond Terrace site manager Grahame Irwin said that employers opening their doors to young job-seekers were not only providing opportunities to Port Stephens youth but also benefiting from the recruitment.
“It’s great to see businesses in Port Stephens covering such diverse industries as hospitality, tourism, retail, warehousing, getting involved and giving young job-seekers a go,” Irwin said.
Young job-seekers can visit www.jobactive.gov.au/path.