Published on Oct 18, 2016

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Last year the national crisis of youth unemployment hit its peak with the rate of youths unemployed in the Hunter Valley reaching nearly 23 percent.

In response, Cessnock City Council’s Economic Development Unit has developed a program driving change and providing opportunities for Cessnock’s young people to gain meaningful employment.

Economic Development Manager Jane Holdsworth is now calling upon all local businesses to help, saying the alarming number of young people in the region who have disengaged from work must become everyone’s first priority.

 “Local businesses – your community needs you. Government programs don’t generate mass employment. Local businesses do.”

Five unemployed young people from Cessnock have undertaken volunteer placement at the Hunter Valley Visitor Centre. Each have learnt how to work in visitor services, customer service, retail, barista, hospitality, wine knowledge and tasting…and much more.  They are receiving fully accredited training and professional development.

Jane vouches for the five young people from Cessnock, who have each exceeded expectations with their level of enthusiasm, initiative and work ethic.

The program will continue over four phases, over the next year, to see twenty young people given a chance at a brighter future.

“We need businesses across Cessnock City to give our young people a chance!”

In the current phase of the initiative, five young adults (aged 18-21) are completing the program to become ‘job ready’. The program will continue over four phases to see twenty local young people given a chance at a brighter future.

“If you are a business owner or manager; who recognises the importance of our community and the future of our young people, we need your help.”

Businesses are being urged to consider creating new entry-level or trainee jobs, or open up existing vacant positions for someone whose enthusiasm tops their experience.

With few entry level positions, limited transport and incongruent training, many unemployed young people face a frustrating and vulnerable road.

It is well reported high youth unemployment results in aggravated poverty which is heightened by issues associated with geographic isolation and lack of access to essential services.

This pilot program aims to reverse these statistics for Cessnock City, involves the NSW Government’s Department of Industry’s Training Services NSW and Office of Regional Development working in partnership with Cessnock City Council and Yancoal.

Whilst the program has successfully attracted federal, state and private funding, Jane says such investment alone is not going to solve this issue.

If you would like more information on the project, or if you think your business might have a suitable position opening up for an enthusiastic young person with excellent work ethics, experience and skills; please contact Jane Holdsworth on 4993 4257 or email: