Toolkit to up-skill youth

Article image - Toolkit to up-skill youth Austar Operations Manager Brian Wesley, Scot MacDonald MLC, Youth First Program participant Phoebe Morris, Youth First Program participant Courtney Radnidge, Cessnock City Mayor, Councillor Bob Pynsent, Austar’s Environment & Community Manager Gary Mulhearn.

Cessnock City Council in New South Wales has officially launched the Youth First Program Toolkit giving councils across Australia the tools to support young people to be job ready.

The Cessnock City Youth First initiative was born following the Hunter Valley Youth Unemployment Symposium facilitated by Cessnock City Council that saw a region wide approach to tackling the critical issue of youth unemployment.

The groundbreaking pilot program saw local young people undertake a training program that up-skilled them and saw them obtain relevant industry qualifications in retail and hospitality.

Cessnock City Mayor Bob Pynsent said he is extremely proud to share this toolkit with every council in Australia and hopes they will consider rolling it out.

“It was fantastic to see the transformation of the young people who participated in our program.

“Giving these young people the opportunity to be mentored saw many of them secure work, some ahead of even finishing the program.

“I encourage every council in Australia to read the toolkit that has been developed for use by local government and consider rolling it out in their existing council facilities, as we have an opportunity to reduce the alarming statistic of youth unemployment and can change the course of a young person’s life.”

The NSW Government’s Department of Industry’s Training Services and Office of Regional Development worked in partnership with Cessnock City Council to make the program a reality.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald MLC said he strongly supports the Toolkit.

“There is nothing more important than helping students prepare for a very dynamic workforce.”

Yancoal Austar Coal Operations also proudly supported the program and Manager Brian Wesley said this is an important issue for the community.

“We are very aware of how training and education can make a genuine positive difference to the lives of others.”