Find a path from Struggle St to work
THERE’S no better feeling than taking home a pay packet, says former Penrith Panthers star Mark Geyer, and he wants more young people to have that experience.
Geyer grew up in Whalan and knows the struggles families face to get out of the cycle of poverty and reliance on welfare.
He wants to be a role model for young people in the area, and has put his energy into promoting The Road, an employment pathways program run by TAFE Outreach and The Aboriginal Education Unit, Bidwill Uniting Church and local businesses.
“After the Struggle St dust settled I think people such as myself who are from the area wanted to see what we could do to help,” Geyer said.
“This is an opportunity of a lifetime. At the end of the program they will have a feeling of accomplishment, and that is infectious and will hopefully stay with them forever.”
The free course runs for eight weeks and is for people aged 16 to 25 who want to work but need help to become job ready. At the end of the course, the participants are guaranteed a job ranging from part-time to full-time apprenticeships in industries including hospitality, real estate and retail.
Many young people were born into disadvantaged circumstances and had few role models with steady jobs to look up to, Geyer said.
“There’s nothing better than taking home your own pay packet each week and contributing something.”
Youth unemployment in the Mt Druitt and St Marys area is about 14 per cent, but the actual figure was much higher because it didn’t take into account young people who were in education or had opted out of employment, according to Marist Youth Care. John Dacey, of Bidwill Uniting Church, said a lack of knowledge of what it took to get and keep a job were obstacles to youths.
The course will launch tomorrow at Bidwill Uniting Community Centre in Bidwill Square from 11am-2pm.
There will be a barbecue put on by Hog’s Breath Cafe and Geyer will be there to chat with those interested in doing the program.
Chris Wallace, who featured in Struggle St, will also be there to support the program and share his story.