Community Traineeship Pilot Program participants meet the Jobs Minister, Martin Pakula, and VCOSS CEO, Emma King.

Community service trainees begin work Community Sector

Community service trainees begin work

The first of 200 young Victorians involved in a pilot program to secure jobs in the state’s booming community services industry have begun work.

The Community Traineeship Pilot Program identifies young people around Dandenong, Bendigo, Sunbury, Glenroy, Craigieburn and Broadmeadows who are facing barriers to getting a job, and provides them with full-time employment while they complete a Certificate IV in Community Services.

The traineeship program is a joint initiative of the Victorian Council of Social Service, the Future Social Service Institute and Jobs Victoria.

“This program gives young people on-the-job training while they work towards a nationally recognised qualification in a booming industry,” VCOSS CEO Emma King said.

“It’s about helping young people who might be struggling to find their feet, and setting them up for long-term success.”

The program seeks to address two key challenges: persistently high rates of youth unemployment in some parts of Victoria and the workforce needs of the rapidly-growing community services industry.

At the start of the 12-month program, trainees undergo an intensive two-week training program. They then spend one day a week studying for their qualification and three to four days a week working in a local community service organisation.

Over this time, the trainees are supported to manage the issues that were making it difficult for them engage in work, such as transport challenges, insecure housing or low literacy.

At the end of 12 months the trainees are ‘job ready’, with a recognised qualification, on-the-job experience and invaluable sector connections.

Ms King said the program connects young people with jobs in the community services industry in recognition of the immense growth forecast in this sector over the coming years.

“We’re on the cusp of a jobs explosion in community services,” Ms King said.

“More than 70,000 new jobs are going to be created in community services over the next five years.”

“Community service jobs are the real jobs of the future.”

Victoria’s Minister for Jobs, Martin Pakula, heaped praise on the pilot program.

“This is a great example of how we’re working hard to provide employment and training opportunities for our young people and connecting them to the jobs of the future.”

“We’re partnering with social services and businesses to break down barriers to employment and ensure that no jobseeker is left behind.”

Tamara’s journey

Tamara Eldridge is a 21 year old Aboriginal woman from Noble Park.

She completed her Community Traineeship Pilot Program intensive training in April, and is now working at the Taskforce Community Agency in Bentleigh.

Tamara left school in Year 9 for family reasons and began working in hospitality and factory roles at the age of 14. She was referred to the Community Traineeship Pilot Program earlier this year

Tamara says receiving support from a youth worker as a teenager helped her decide to pursue her own career in community services.

“I didn’t know what career I wanted to take but working with a youth worker helped me find my purpose”

Tamara works across a number of areas at Taskforce, including assisting with classes for people battling addiction, at the organisation’s Youth Hub and performing reception and administrative duties.

Tamara describes the program as “wonderful” and says she “enjoys going to work each day”.

She says she lives by a simple motto:

“Always be hopeful in finding work and never to give up when things turn bad.”