The Richmond Club group’s Work for the Dole program was regarded the ‘‘best example across the country’’ by Assistant Minister for Employment, Luke Hartsuyker, when he visited last week, reports Stephanie Bates.
THE program provides experience for Work for the Dole participants in roles such as hairdressing, grounds keeping, IT, administration and maintenance at both the club and its aged care facility, Hawkesbury Living.
It helps them learn new skills and improve their chance of finding a job.
A forum was held at the club on Wednesday, October 8, to discuss the program and express ideas about ways forward.
Richmond Club chief executive Kimberley Talbot said the meeting was productive.
‘‘I think the term work for the dole is demeaning, especially with the high rate of under 25-year-olds on it,’’ she said. ‘‘It should refer to job seeking.’’
Ms Talbot said the next step in the process was to set up a board meeting with Clubs NSW to encourage other clubs to offer the program.
‘‘It’s a very good program for small and large businesses and creates confidence in the younger ones,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s not taking jobs from other people, it’s just lessening the load on existing employees.’’
Ms Talbot said as part of the program the club encouraged participants to undertake TAFE certificates three and four in their study areas of choice.
‘‘They [the participants] may feel they wouldn’t pass in a TAFE or uni environment, but undertaking it at the club they don’t feel so intimidated by it,’’ she said.
Ms Talbot spoke warmly of the program, saying she was elated and excited about the acknowledgement of something the club had been running for many years.
‘‘I’m very proud of we do what we do without thinking about it,’’ she said.
Mr Hartsuyker said it was great to meet with Macquarie MP Louise Markus, Ms Talbot and the team from Richmond Club who were ‘‘all working tirelessly to create opportunities for job seekers in the area’’.
Mrs Markus said the club took an active role in the community in wholeheartedly supporting the program with a objective of seeing young people succeed.
“I was delighted to see the participants engage in Work for the Dole with such enthusiasm and that two participants are now in work after participating in the program,’’ she said.