Young people across the Moreton Bay Region will benefit from Australia’s first government virtual work experience program when it launches this year.
The program, to be delivered by virtual work experience provider The Forage, aims to help job seekers bridge the gap between learning and work with virtual job simulations.
Users will have access to industry and workplace training specific to the Moreton Bay Region and businesses and the program will expose the region to The Forage’s global audience.
Mayor Peter Flannery says the Australian-first online work experience program will give the community valuable training opportunities without the challenge of distance.
“I want people in our community to have the best possible opportunity to get a secure, stable job,” Mayor Flannery says.
“There’s dignity in work and knowing firsthand what access to education and a job means, I want to break down every barrier possible for our community.”
An officers’ report to Council says work experience is useful to give potential candidates the chance to see whether they will be suitable and enjoy a role before committing to an industry, reducing recruitment and retention costs to employers.
The report says in many industries, such as agriculture and manufacturing, job seekers don’t have a clear understanding of key tasks, which can result in high turnover because employees are not prepared or equipped to work through building skills on the job.
“With 16.5 percent (70,334) of the Moreton Bay Region population aged between 12 and 24 and a further 12.2 percent (52,002) being part of the young workforce aged between 25-34, the demand for work experience is likely to be high,” the report states.
“However, trying to organise work experience in an economy made up predominantly of small and medium enterprises can be difficult.
“Anecdotal evidence from High School Guidance Counsellors during 2021 was that placements were limited, if available at all.”
Mayor Flannery says with many young people in the region on the verge of entering the workforce, being able to provide new pathways for training is important.
“Councils today are doing so much more than ever before, which means plenty of opportunities for people in our region to gain valuable skills - whether that’s in engineering, accounting, human resources or economic development.
“I encourage every young person in our community and everyone who’s ever thought about reskilling to put their hand up when the time comes.”