Up to 75 long-term unemployed people in the North East will receive mentoring and support after Wodonga TAFE received state government funding.
The Reconnect Program is free for eligible jobseekers, who have not completed year 12 or any training higher than a certificate one.
Program co-ordinator Scott O’Brien said he and his team were eager to meet people out where they live in Alpine, Indigo and Towong shires, and it was only a case of finding the right participants.
“We previously delivered the program but it was based in Wodonga and around youth and the VCAL programs we run – this time there’s a focus on trying to get support out to rural areas,” he said.
“This one finishes in December next year – we have the opportunity to get people involved up until the end of January and in the rest of that 11 months we’ll work with them towards their end goal.”
Mr O'Brien will work with neighbourhood centres and community groups, and above that “door-knock” in outlying shires to track down the right people.
“The very cohort of people we’re looking to assist are generally the ones who don’t put their hands up for help, and they’re probably a bit socially isolated,” he said.
“We’re putting together a package for them, problem-solving and goal-setting.”
Mr O’Brien said what the program could deliver was dependent on the participants’ needs and could be “versatile”.
“There might be someone who needs help in where they’re at, or others who want to take a course.
“Digital literacy is another one – it’s a big problem with Wodonga and the outlying areas as well.
“The reality is everyone’s really different.
“A person can go from not being able to maintain eye contact to someone who is confident and making goals and that’s the part I find exciting.”
Closer to Wodonga, the TAFE’s new space on campus for the Skills and Jobs Centre to operate out of is nearly complete.
The $1 million hub at TAFEspace near the Wodonga library opened in 2015, and will continue seeing students and people seeking work at that site one day a week, while the centre on campus will operate four days a week.
To be eligible for the Reconnect Program, people aged between 17 and 19 must have not completed year 12 and not be undertaking study or work.
People aged up to 64 who have not completed year 12 or equivalent, and have been unemployed for a year or more, are also eligible.
For information about the program, contact 1300 698 233 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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