Young man goes west
By BIANCA CLARE
FOUR months ago Coffs Harbour job seeker Robert Campbell was unskilled, unemployed and struggling financially.
Today, the 24-year-old has the opportunity to turn his life around.
Mr Campbell was one of 13 locals, aged between 19 to 25, who flew from Coffs Harbour to Western Australia on Friday 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.
Mr Campbell said he was nervous but excited about packing up his bags and stepping into a new life.
"I am walking into this blind because I have never been on a building site before, but I am just happy to be learning a trade," he said.
"I have spent the last six years in Coffs Harbour, it's a fantastic place, but it can be very seasonal with the amount of full-time work available."
The Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker said he had approached the Minister for Workforce Participation four months ago to include his electorate in the pilot project.
"I am happy to say Coffs Harbour is the very first town involved in the relocation program," Mr Hartsuyker said.
Wesley Uniting is leading the project on the east coast in partnership with other providers Work Directions, ETC Coffs Harbour, Campbell Page and Mission Australia.
Wesley Uniting Employment manager Moray Ralph said from today the job seekers would complete three weeks of initial training with Perth training company, Silver Trowel, and would then be put into 12-month plastering traineeships with employers in the booming WA construction industry.
"The Australian Government is covering the travel and relocation costs for each new worker, which includes their airfares, any extra shipping costs, their four weeks rent and bond," he said.
"After the three weeks training, they'll be earning around $600 a week after tax."
Mr Ralph will accompany the new recruits in Perth until Tuesday.
"My job is to organise affordable accommodation and be a mentor for the new workers," he said.
WA mining service provider, Compass Group, is another company keen to employ workers as kitchen hands, cooks, cleaners and gardeners.
They will conduct information session in Coffs Harbour in November.