Mixed feelings as Aaron flies west
By MEL MARTIN
CHECKING his bags in at Coffs Harbour Airport yesterday for his flight to Western Australia, Aaron Watson felt a little bit of sadness and a whole lot of excitement.
"This is a great opportunity to take a step forward in life," Aaron said.
"I'll be doing a renderer traineeship, and there are opportunities available to me in Western Australia that just aren't available here."
Aaron was one of eight jobseekers from Coffs Harbour and Nowra who flew out to start new traineeships in Western Australia, the second group of young people to leave the region.
In late October, Coffs Harbour saw 13 of its young people go west to start new jobs in the construction industry.
The initiative is part of a trial Australian Government relocation program to match unemployed people living in areas of few jobs with positions in areas looking for workers, which at this stage only involves Coffs Harbour and Nowra.
Under the scheme, the Australian Government covers the cost of travel and relocation, including airfares, shipping costs and bond.
Wesley Uniting is leading the project on the east coast in partnership with Work Directions, ETC Coffs Harbour, Campbell Page and Mission Australia.
Nationals Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker, who requested Coffs Harbour be included in the relocation pilot program, said a third group of six young jobseekers were already packing their bags.
"The third group from Coffs Harbour last week began two weeks of training in customer service and hospitality, and will complete another week when they arrive in WA," Mr Hartsuyker said.
The MP said he did not believe sending young jobseekers away from Coffs Harbour was a negative move, as creating jobs in the region was another part of the Government's program to lower unemployment figures.