Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast Gareth Ward has today celebrated the one year milestone of the Illawarra Youth Employment Strategy (IllawarraYES) and announced funding for its continuation.

Mr Ward said that the twelve month IllawarraYES pilot was launched in July 2016 and involves Government, industry and NGOs working together to improve employment outcomes for young job seekers.

“Driving solutions to get young people into work should be the focus of every level of Government. IllawarraYES has been a success and I’m delighted we have secured funding to continue this good work,” he said.

“Today, I am very pleased to announce that the NSW Government, through the NSW Department of Industry, has provided funding for an IllawarraYES Coordinator to drive the continuation of the Strategy.

“The funding will allow the Illawarra Business Chamber to employ a full-time IllawarraYES Coordinator for two years to manage the delivery of youth employment programs and activities that have been established through the pilot.”

Over the past 12 months eleven IllawarraYES pre-employment programs have been delivered for young job seekers in key growth sectors across the Illawarra-Shoalhaven. These programs have included ContactCentreYES, HosptialityYES and Retail Ready.

“IllawarraYES programs have been co-designed with business to ensure that young job seekers are getting the training and work experience that employers need to meet their skills requirements,” Mr Ward said.

Wollongong City Lord Mayor and Chair of the Illawarra Joint Pilot Organisation of Councils Councillor Gordon Bradbery OAM, acknowledged the work done by IllawarraYES partners in helping to make the pilot a success.

“I would like to thank the members of the IllawarraYES Steering Committee who have worked so hard over the past year to deliver outcomes that have had a real and lasting impact on young job seekers in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven,” Cr Bradbery said.

“The funding announced today from the NSW Government will take this program to an extra level of implementation.

“I also commend the young people that have participated in the IllawarraYES pilot and helped make it such a success.

“There have been some fantastic results, including participants in the recent ContactCentreYES program securing employment with the likes of NEC, Skydive the Beach and the University of Wollongong. This is great news for the participants, and a positive step towards addressing the high levels of youth unemployment in our city,” he said.

Mr Chris Lamont, Executive Director, Illawarra Business Chamber and Illawarra First, said he welcomed the opportunity for the Chamber to play a key role in driving IllawarraYES forward.

“The involvement of industry is critical in ensuring that initiatives such as IllawarraYES translate into jobs for participants,” he said.

“Given the Chamber’s representation of businesses across the region, we are well placed to help establish and drive partnerships and programs that help meet the needs of young job seekers and industry alike,” Mr Lamont said.

Recruitment for the IllawarraYES Coordinator will begin shortly and it is anticipated that the role will commence in August 2017.

Training for IllawarraYES pre-employment programs is subsidised by the NSW Department of Industry – Training Services NSW, through Smart & Skilled.