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Employment Enclave First Breakfast April2016 LouiseArmstrong

Louise Armstrong, Chair of Benalla Business Network speaks at the establishment of the Benalla Employment Enclave.

Local employers have committed to providing employment opportunities for young people following the launch of the Benalla Employment Enclave at a recent Benalla Business Network breakfast meeting held at Benalla Gliding Club on 5 April.

The Employment Enclave aims to foster part-time work opportunities, work experience and school-based apprenticeships for local young people.  The project is a joint initiative of the Rotary Club of Benalla, Benalla Lions Club and Tomorrow Today Foundation, with support from NE Tracks LLEN, Benalla Business Network and Benalla Rural City Council,

“Employing young people through work placements and Schools Based apprenticeships is one way employers can contribute to training Benalla’s future workforce,” said Deb Paez, Tomorrow Today’s Coordinator Student Transitions. “School based work placements also open young people’s eyes to the employment opportunities in their own community,” she said.

Ms Paez said that there were employer incentives, including government subsidies for businesses interested in taking on an apprentice or trainee, and a number of local services set up to facilitate these opportunities.

Guests at the breakfast were inspired by local success stories, including school based apprentices transitioning to full apprenticeships, as has been the case for Dosser Panels owner Jeff Kunkel, who felt that School Based Apprenticeships were helping ensure the sustainability of his business.

Benalla Rotarian and West End Post Office operator Amanda Challis challenged more Benalla businesses, especially small to medium traders, to give local young people a break. As someone who has provided employment for quite a number of young people, Ms Challis said that it provided a fantastic opportunity to develop their work ethic, communication and business skills. “It’s also very satisfying to mentor these young employees and see their confidence and skills grow,” Ms Challis said.

Other speakers at the breakfast, which was catered for jointly by Lions and Rotary, included Apprentice Support training consultant Marylyn Rose, President of Benalla Business Network, Louise Armstrong and NE LLEN Structured Workplace Learning Coordinator Shane Crispin.

Local business owners keen to provide employment opportunities for young people should contact Shane Crispin on 0427 712634