New in­cen­tive to hire staff

Un­em­ployed peo­ple are be­ing given a help­ing hand back into the work­force, writes Lau­ren No­vak

The Advertiser - Careers - - Long-term Unemployed -

WORK­ERS are reap­ing the re­wards of a Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment jobs ini­tia­tive aimed at get­ting the long-term un­em­ployed back to work.

The $95 mil­lion fed­eral Wage Con­nect pro­gram sub­sidises em­ploy­ers to hire and re­tain peo­ple who have been out of the work­force for sig­nif­i­cant amounts of time.

Em­ploy­ers re­ceive about $5700, or $220 a week, to off­set wage and train­ing costs for new em­ploy­ees for their first six months.

The sub­sidy is equiv­a­lent to the av­er­age rate of the New­start Al­lowance over 26 weeks.

Em­ploy­ment Par­tic­i­pa­tion Min­is­ter Kate El­lis says peo­ple who have been un­em­ployed for a long time of­ten do not have the nec­es­sary skills and work ex­pe­ri­ence for which em­ploy­ers are look­ing.

‘‘ Once a job seeker has been un­em­ployed for one year they have a 54 per cent chance of be­ing un­em­ployed for at least one more year,’’ she says.

‘‘ This (Wage Con­nect) in­vest­ment is about work­ing with em­ploy­ers to give Aus­tralians who have been on in­come sup­port for a long time a chance to get the skills and ex­pe­ri­ence they need to be in the paid work­force.’’

Mother of four Julie Pen- fold, 44, is among the first placed un­der the scheme.

Through agency Jobs Statewide, she se­cured part-time work at a Hun­gry Jacks store af­ter a decade of un­em­ploy­ment.

Pen­fold dropped out of the work­force to have chil­dren and found it hard to re-en­ter.

‘‘ No­body wants to give you a go when you’re older,’’ she says. ‘‘ When they said I had the job, it was bril­liant.

‘‘ Af­ter be­ing out of work for so long it’s fan­tas­tic ac­tu­ally get­ting back out into the work­force.

‘‘ It was good to show that I still had some­thing to give.’’

Picture: Brooke What­nall

Back into the work­force, Julie Pen­fold.

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