A local labour hire recruitment company has pledged to line up Shoalhaven job-seekers with roles in major construction projects such as the Berry to Bomaderry bypass.
Workforce XS, which opened its new Nowra office on Worrigee Street on Friday, aims to combat high unemployment rates and increase indigenous participation in the workforce.
Workforce XS has been embedded in the community for four years, and grown in its power to employ local people.
“We’ve made huge inroads on a number of fronts,” spokesman Ross Thompson said
“15 per cent of the workforce we are currently employing are indigenous.”
So what’s next?
“With more than $2 billion in infrastructure spends coming to our region, we are faced with a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a big difference to youth unemployment,” Mr Thompson.
“We are creating a youth employment initiative.
“Our strategy is a holistic approach.
“We will address the barriers to young workers, I am looking into running a bus that will get our guys to and from the worksite so transport isn’t a barrier anymore.”
Mr Thompson and his team will be encouraging contractors to use local workers on the Nowra bridge, Berry to Bomaderry and Albion Park bypass projects.
Jervis Bay worker Will Scheibe is a Workforce XS success story, finding a job on the Burrill Lake bridge project.
“As a young man it’s hard to get into the workforce, especially in construction,” he said.
“Lots of job providers at Nowra were promising work, but there was never any deliverance.
“I walked in the door of workforce with a resume, they didn’t even look at it, they said, here’s your shot.
“A lot of young men are like myself, don’t have straight A’s, all they look for is a chance.
“I went to Wollongong, Sydney, all the way to Manly in an apprenticeship, and after three months with a big company, I was cheap labour for them, they said, ‘see ya later.’
“Also, with Workforce I’ve never had a problem with the pay, it’s there on time every week.
“It’s extremely rare, the last labour hire place I worked for the payments were late, there were payments missing – it was very dodgy.
“They think they can get away with anything, a lot of young men fall into that trap and learn the hard way like I did.”