Published on Mar 9, 2020

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Left to right  “The Cessnock Employment and Training Network” Tania Bunk (Youth Express), Mark Hill (Workskil), Karen O’Brien (AimBig), Jamie McMahon (APM), Samantha Nikas (AimBig),  Brad Sangster (Economic Development Officer), Amy Osborne (AimBig), Debra Hescott (TAFE NSW), Kelly Lynch (Economic Development Business Support), Kellie Cuskelly (TAFE NSW), Warrick Jordan (Employment Facilitator for the Hunter), Luke Welsman (Workskil), Rhiannon Stevens (Economic Development Officer), Renae McLeod (MaiWel), Wayne Humphreys (NSW Business Chamber).

A sustainable workforce and supporting existing local businesses to employ more staff locally are the aims of Cessnock City Council’s Employment and Training Network.

The collaborative working group is made up of employment agencies and training bodies from across the Cessnock Local Government Area. The Network is focused on identifying and removing barriers to employment, improving the employment outlook for young people, those returning to work and the unemployed.

The group was formed in 2018 in response to Council’s workforce Skills Audit. More recently the decision has been made to formalise the group and commit to collaboratively identify opportunities to improve training and employment outcomes for the benefit of the individual, the business and the community.

Council’s Economic Development and Tourism Manager, Tony Chadwick said the formalisation of the network is a positive step that will provide a unified voice to advocate for our communities employment and training needs.

“The Network has already identified difficulties in obtaining a drivers licence as a local barrier to employment and discussions are currently underway into possible solutions to overcome this issue. Other topics discussed included employer and job seeker matching events, employment clinics for small business and remembering to celebrate our successes via adding case studies to the Cessnock Jobs Portal.”

Members include Council’s Economic Development Team, Hunter Region Employment Facilitator, TAFE NSW, employment and jobactive agencies, youth organisations, PCYC, and other stakeholders with an interest in training and employment.

The formalisation of the Employment and Training Network follows the launch of the Council’s Cessnock Jobs Portal in early 2020. The Advance Cessnock City Jobs Portal, was designed to make hiring easier for Hunter Valley employers and job seekers. Since the launch of the Portal many local businesses in the community have embraced the platform and have been advertising their vacant positions. The site also has a range of meaningful resources about local vocational education, training, local career pathways and available jobs. was jointly funded by the Australian Government and Cessnock City Council as part of the Skills Audit project. Employers are urged to list their jobs for free on and share their stories of successful employment outcomes to
View the Cessnock City Skills Audit 2018 report online: