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The contradiction in the local labour market was a topic of discussion at a recent event for Benalla businesses hosted by the Benalla Future Work Steering Committee.

Local Learning & Employment Network (NE Tracks LLEN) Executive Officer Danny O’Donoghue explained the issue to participants.

“On one hand there is a high level of unemployment among Benalla’s young people and on the other, many employers are finding it difficult to attract appropriately skilled workers,” Mr O’Donoghue said.

He also spoke of the importance of school-based apprenticeships and traineeships as a way of integrating quality work experience with young people’s education journey.

“(This) has proven hugely successful for both employers and young people,” he said.

Benalla Future Work Steering Committee coordinator Sally Matheson spoke of the importance of building a bridge between inexperience and employability.

“School-based apprenticeships and traineeships are government subsidised and offer a viable model for employers,” Ms Matheson said.

Inspiring stories were shared at the event, with presentations from young people who are benefiting from placements within the building industry, health and farming sectors.

Brayden Wapling, who is completing a school-based apprenticeship with DC Building Contractors, spoke of the benefits of his traineeship.

“I started at the beginning of this year and have built up many skills I hadn’t known before,” he said.

“I have gained an understanding of how the industry works and this will help me going on to future work with the business.”

Speaking after the event Ms Matheson said the enthusiasm of the young people was infectious.

“It was wonderful to hear each of their journeys into the workforce,” she said.

“The strong relationship each has with their employer, who is also their mentor, was palpable.

“We are calling on Benalla businesses to give a young person their first break into the world of work.”

Tomorrow Today Foundation coordinates the Benalla Future Work Steering Committee.

Rachael and Brayden