Young people encouraged to look to growth industries

Thriving industries in Tasmania are being supported to find the next generation of workers through a program run by Beacon Foundation, and highlighted on ABC Local Radio in Tasmania today.

The Growth Industries Preparation Program (GrIPP) is running in North West Tasmania, a region which has long had very high levels of youth unemployment.

Beacon Foundation’s Sonia Hodgetts, who is working on the program, told ABC Local Radio’s Mornings Host Leon Compton, that the NW region should be proud of the collaboration that exists between schools and industry.

“I’m finding that when I  approach industries to participate in this program – we’re asking them to host students on site for a day – they are more than happy. It meets the need that they are trying to promote those shortages in their areas – and we have that package that fits the bill.”

GrIPP  aims to help raise student and parent awareness of the skills shortages and career opportunities within Tasmania in five industries – Building and Construction, Tourism and Hospitality, Advanced Manufacturing, Aged and Community Services along with Food and Food Production.

Ms Hodgetts told the program that not only is youth unemployment a big issue in the region (it’s at around 15%)), but that casualisation of young people who are working means many don’t have job security.

“Part of Beacon Foundation’s program is to provide awareness, not just about job opportunities, but an opportunity to develop their careers and continue on in more substantial careers.”

Another guest on the program, Mark Smith, from Burnie collective impact group BIG, highlighted the importance of organisations working together to improve a problem that requires generational change.

“Our group is working at (the) aspirational level for young people, to try and open doors for them in terms of educational opportunities and job opportunities …  Beacon is out there delivering the programs, so pretty important that we work together, particularly in small regions.”

Also represented on the Mornings show was the University of Tasmania’s University College. It’s CEO,Lee Whiteley, explained that the College provides access to Diplomas and Associate Degrees. These can involve practical experiences in a work based setting, and lead to Bachelor Degrees.

Mr Whiteley says a lot of young people continue to fall through the cracks.

“They find it very difficult to get employment because they don’t have the right qualifications and then it really is a barrier between them and long term careers…

“What we really need is a system that gets them into a good job, keeps them in a job and lets them build a career over their entire lifetime.”

Beacon Foundation’s GrIPP days include a Site Tour, work readiness workshops supported by industry mentors. And there’s an invitation to parents and guardians to participate.

For more information email Sonia Hodgetts,