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Participants from the Next Gen Wollongong program standing in a row

Sixteen young people from local schools have commenced the Next Gen Wollongong program provided by Access Community Group.

The program provides mentoring and employment for Year 10 and 11 high school students to undertake routine tasks for small and micro businesses in the Wollongong LGA.

Access Community Group Business Development Manager Sarah Wilson said there was currently ten local businesses who have jumped on board with the program.

“There is a great mix of businesses including an equal opportunities lawyer, sound healing practitioner, charity support people with Eosinophilic disorders and lots more,” Ms Wilson said.

The program gives the young people practical hands on paid work experience, vocational skills and employability skills.

“Businesses we have spoken with have said that high school students are coming out with the academic qualifications, but might not have the real life work skills to fit straight into a small business,” Ms Wilson said.

Ms Wilson said that not only will the young people benefit, but businesses will also receive cost-effective assistance to help their business grow digitally.

“Our participants will help the businesses with social media creation and management, plus a range of other IT related tasks,” Ms Wilson said.

“There is a great buzz amongst the students and businesses.”

Enterprise & Training Company Limited (ETC) donated $11,257 to the Access Community Group to help cover the costs associated with the program.

“Without the funds from the ETC Community Support Fund, this project wouldn’t exist. This funding allows us to continue working with kids from local schools who otherwise might not have these opportunities,” Ms Wilson said.

ETC Business Coordinator Annelies Voorthius said it had been a pleasure to be able to support the Access Community Group.

“The ETC Community Support Fund is designed to help organisations improve the social and economic development of local communities,” Ms Voorthius said.

“Since 1989, ETC has placed over 54,500 Australians into jobs, trained more than 27,000 people, helped over 37,000 small businesses to start-up and grow, and contributed in excess of $25 million to the local communities in which we operate.”

 

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