Business

Federal Budget's dumped initiatives had lasting impact

END OF ERA: These mums used the soon-to-end Energy Skills Qld course to get back into the workforce – (from left) Jessica Kassulke, Kylie-anne Hooper, Olivia Wale, Caitlin Wovat (with Harlem Williams, 2), and Amanda Bull (with Eli Bull, 8 months).
END OF ERA: These mums used the soon-to-end Energy Skills Qld course to get back into the workforce – (from left) Jessica Kassulke, Kylie-anne Hooper, Olivia Wale, Caitlin Wovat (with Harlem Williams, 2), and Amanda Bull (with Eli Bull, 8 months). Sharyn Oneill Rokswork

AMID the carnage of budget cuts and changes, a six-pack of dumped community employment and education programs in Rockhampton have been branded outstanding success stories.

In an email obtained this week by The Morning Bulletin, Local Advisory Group chairwoman Julie Irwin informed members involved in the Better Futures Local Solutions projects that federal funding would end in June.

"We can be proud of what has been achieved for the Rockhampton region and its people through this fantastic initiative," Ms Irwin said.

"Even though this time has been short, a great deal has been accomplished.''

The six projects under the Better Futures, Local Solutions federally-funded pilot focussed on young parents, job-seeking youth and families to assist them with education and career pathways.

Ms Irwin thanked and congratulated all parties including the Department of Human Services and the Smith Family.

The email came after Federal Budget implications confirmed these programs had an end date of June 30, even though they had hoped the programs would be extended.

A spokesperson for the Department of Human Services said "these projects were originally intended to become self-sustaining over time".

"There were no agreements to provide funding beyond this period," the spokesperson said.

Member for Capricornia, MP Michelle Landry said she would take concerns about a separate youth program (PCYC Youth Connections) to the Federal Minister for Human Services, with its funding ending on December 31.

She said new programs to help job seekers would be soon rolled out in the region (see fact box, below).

Last night Minister for Human Services Marise Payne told The Morning Bulletin she understood Ms Landry's concerns and assured Central Queenslanders people looking for work would be supported.

"My job is to make sure that through Centrelink, through working with my colleagues in the employment portfolios (incorporating Job Services Australia providers) are working closely with these people to make sure we don't let them fall through the cracks.

"That's my job. That's what I try and do every day of the week.''

She gave an example of the SEE program (Skills for Education and Employment) and said there were three providers in Capricornia that provided language, literacy and numeracy training to eligible jobseekers that would help them participate in training "and hopefully move into the labour force''.

 

OLD VS NEW

THE Better Futures, Local Solutions projects outlined below will no longer run as of June 30.

Connecting the school and families with community

Allenstown State School Annex

Pre-school children will access early social, literacy and numeracy experiences through weekly playgroup at the school. Free healthy food choices will be available to students two days a week. Young job-seeking families will be able to access education through certificate courses in Volunteering on site and more. Driving to engage

The Salvation Army Employment Plus

This project provides professional driving lessons and volunteer mentor driver support for young parents to gain a driver's licence as a tool for reducing the identified barrier of transport. The aim is for 100% of 30 participants to gain a driver's licence over 12 months.

Growing community through food and education

Glenmore State High School P&C Association

This project reaches over 200 students each week, encouraging local families and extended (hidden) community members to develop linkages, skills development, communication and language diversity pertaining to employability skills (VET programs) within the region.

Queensland workforce skilling strategy

Energy Skills Qld

This project involves the delivery of life skills, job readiness preparation and accredited units of training in retail and hospitality. This partnership will produce quality indigenous and mainstream employees ready to perform and meet the needs of industry in the Rockhampton LGA with a personalised and supported approach. Identifying potential barriers; drug and alcohol testing; development of life skills; work readiness skills and more.

Pathwayz

Community Solutions Group

Pathwayz Project will deliver on-the-job work experience and mentoring within Rockhampton Regional Council grounds through a working partnership with the council.

The pieces of life

Centacare

Will develop a consortium of support services, training providers, and employers to: source information on current and future jobs in Rockhampton LGA to ensure advice to young parents and job seeking families regarding training choices:

NEW PROGRAMS

FEDERAL member for Capricornia Michelle Landry outlined some of the new initiatives coming into effect next year for those seeking employment or education including investing $64.5 billion in government and non-government schools over the next four years.

Introducing Trade Support Loans for apprentices. From July 1, the Government will offer loans of up to $20,000 over four years. The loans operate in a similar way to university HELP loans and are only repayable once apprentices are earning a sustainable income.

For the first time, the Federal Government will also provide university-type loans for students undertaking higher education diplomas, advanced diplomas and associate degrees and recognised certificates trade courses. This will provide a pathway to careers or further study for a Bachelor degree.

New Work for the Dole arrangements will also help more young job seekers to improve their chances of getting a job while giving something back to the community that supports them.

Job Commitment Bonus - The $157 million Job Commitment Bonus program will encourage young, long-term unemployed job seekers aged 18-30 to find and keep a job. From July 1, eligible job seekers will receive a $2500 bonus payment if they get a job and remain completely off income support for 12 months.

Relocation assistance to take up a job - designed to promote workforce participation by encouraging job seekers to move to areas where jobs are available.

Restart - Under the $524 million Restart program employers will receive up to $10,000 in Commonwealth Government assistance if they hire an eligible job seeker aged 50 or more.

Topics:  federal budget 2014, unemployed



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