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A group of Indigenous youth from Brisbane’s southside will be honoured on Monday night as they graduate from the Mission Australia/Queensland Reds Indigenous Employment Program.
The innovative partnership funded by the Federal Government has assisted thirty-five young people to secure sustainable employment over the past 18 months – providing the job seekers with targeted support, mentoring and skill development.
The young graduates will be acknowledged at a special ceremony with their Queensland Reds player mentors at Queensland Rugby Headquarters at Ballymore.
Mission Australia Employment Solutions Regional Manager for Indigenous Employment Deeann Natividad said the success of the program over the past eighteen months demonstrates what can be achieved when you provide targeted support to young Indigenous job seekers.
“This is a very proud moment for these young Indigenous Queenslanders who have overcome great challenges to find pathways to employment,” Ms Natividad said.
“Prior to joining our Indigenous Employment Program, most of these young people had been struggling not just to find work, but also to find the confidence to apply for jobs in the community.
“Some come from communities where employment is often an exception rather than the norm, with generational unemployment having a huge impact on youth.
“Even so, they each expressed a desire to change their situation and find a job or engage in training that would put them on track to a brighter future.
“Our joint Indigenous Employment Program has harnessed the enthusiasm and potential among these young job seekers, and provided the kind of wrap around support that has assisted them to find and sustain employment.
“The Reds players have performed a really important role, inspiring and encouraging our young participants to identify their goals and do what it takes to achieve them.
“With the support of their mentors and our program staff, the 35 job seekers have now all commenced work, with some having been in their new jobs for over a year.
“They’ve taken on roles in a variety of industries including hospitality, construction, mining, business administration, airline services, childcare services and health services.
“We have continued to support these young people, to ensure they maintained their employment and were able to overcome any challenges that arose.
“We are determined to ensure these young Indigenous Queenslanders succeed in the workplace and enjoy exciting and productive careers and it’s great to see them off to such a great start.
“This program is a step in the right direction towards tackling Indigenous unemployment and we’re delighted to have partnered with one of Queensland’s top sporting teams to do so.”
Queensland Reds hooker Saia Faingaa said he was proud to be involved with the program.
“Mentoring the Mission Australia program’s kids has been a great experience for all the Reds players involved and it’s something we are proud to be participating in,” Faingaa said.
“Having Aboriginal heritage myself, this is a role I take seriously so it’s great to see so many positive results.
“The kids really have taken a proactive approach to make the most out of the opportunities, going on to gain employment and achieve their goals.
“We wish all the graduates the best of luck in their new roles and look forward to hearing about their future achievements.”
Ms Natividad said the Mission Australia-Queensland Reds Indigenous Employment Program was launched in June 2011, and was an Australian-first.
Through the 18 month program, participants received targeted assistance to develop the skills and confidence they needed to secure rewarding employment opportunities that will set them up for a brighter future. The participants also received on-going support once they started work, to ensure they continued to succeed in their new job and meet the needs of their employer.
Queensland Reds players have provided mentoring support and encouragement for the young participants to help motivate them to reach their goals.
For further information on IEPs delivered by Mission Australia Employment Solutions, please contact Mission Australia on 13 11 24.
Mission Australia – Nicola Hazell – (07) 3394 8114 or 0467 783 421
Queensland Rugby – Samantha Broun – 0405 143 258
28 MARCH 2017