Guiding our youth

CHAC’s Indigenous Employment Program mentors, Graeme Heald and Scott Enniss, with youth employed through the program Rachel Emmett, Brianna Perfect and Chandelle Enniss, as well as Tyson Harvey – the program’s newest participant. Picture: Jelena Potpara.

Jobs. Helping young Tasmanians into the workforce is all part of a day’s work for Circular Head Aboriginal Corporation’s Graeme Heald and Scott Enniss.

Along with their team, the men act as mentors for the 12 youths employed locally under the Indigenous Employment Program.

They help another 12 who are employed across the state.

Eighteen-year-old Tyson Harvey is one of the program’s most recent participants.

Tyson said he was “sitting around at home, bored”, wanting to find work to broaden his skills and improve his confidence.

With help from his mentor Scott he has applied for jobs in IT and says he is now able to look people in the eye when talking.

Similar stories of improved confidence are told by those employed under the program. They talk about the fulfilment of having a job they enjoy, the support their mentors provide and the on-the-job training that benefits both them and their employers.

The program was launched in 2012, with federal funding for 80 Indigenous Tasmanians. Fifty-five of those were placed into employment throughout the state, and supported with on-the-job training and guidance in the form of a mentor. The remaining 25 were also supported by their mentors.

In December last year, further funding was announced to help another 50 jobseekers into the workforce (10 of these positions targeted youth aged 16 to 24).

And just last month, an additional 30 places, with assistance to be given to 10 youths aged 15 to 24.

With ongoing funding and numerous local youths pleased with their new-found employment, CHAC chairman and IEP manager Graeme is the first to say: “It’s definitely working.”

With various categories to help target those who need it most – including youth at risk, ex-offenders and long-term unemployed – the program aims to find appropriate jobs for individuals.

Mentors spend time with jobseekers to discover what areas of interest may lead to potential careers and together they apply for jobs. Once employed, the mentors offer support to both the employee and employer, regularly.

“More often than they like,” Scott laughed when asked how frequent the meetings were.

Scott added it was a rewarding gig. “We want to try and look after this community,” he said, adding particularly Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders, among whom there is a higher rate of unemployment.

“We don’t want to see unemployed people in Circular Head,” Scott said.

“Any unemployed person that wants to drop in their resume, it will be forwarded on to opportunities.”

The IEP is funded by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

For more information about the program contact the IEP team on 6452 1287.

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