Find a path from Strug­gle St to work

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Jenny Gal­braith For more in­for­ma­tion about the course call Michael Mli­naric on 0490 555 009 MT DRUITT-ST MARYS STAN­DARD, Wed­nes­day, July 22, 2015

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.

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