Jobs network for disadvantaged gets underway in Bendigo region

LAUNCH: Disadvantaged Bendigonians could be back in the workplace if the state government's new jobs network goes to plan. Picture: DARREN HOWE

LAUNCH: Disadvantaged Bendigonians could be back in the workplace if the state government's new jobs network goes to plan. Picture: DARREN HOWE

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More than 100 disadvantaged residents in the Bendigo region will be the beneficiaries of a new state government employment scheme. 

The Jobs Victoria Employment Network, launched in Bendigo on Friday, will fund two local employment agencies to find openings for 135 out-of-work people.  

Aboriginal people, workers aged over 50, refugees, asylum seekers, long-term unemployed and single parents will be among those CVGT and Access Australia employ with their share of the $53 million program. 

The agencies will partner with community organisations, including Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services and Bendigo and Districts Aboriginal Co-Operative, to find people seeking work. 

JVEN hopes to employ more than 4000 disadvantaged people across the state.   

Speaking at yesterday’s launch, Bendigo East MP Jacinta Allan said each position was expected to last at least six months and should be full-time, but part-time options would be available for those hoping to balance work and family commitments.

Ms Allan said work played a critical role in connecting people with their community.  

“A job is very much in some ways like the social glue, it helps people to stick together, make friends and provides that critical income support for their families,” the minister said.

Asked why employers – who Access chief executive officer Michael Langdon called the “lynch pin” in any effort to find work – would choose to hire a disadvantaged member of the community, the minister said the agencies would also support workplaces when taking one of the program’s employees. 

The announcement comes a fortnight after credit ratings agency Standard & Poor released a report about the risk of rising unemployment in Bendigo over the next four years.

The report found while the city could expect growth in its healthcare and social assistance sectors, many residents were dependent on the shrinking manufacturing, mining and construction sectors for jobs. 

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