Employment program pays off

Franco Saliba

Tate Papworth

Fifteen young Brimbank residents have defied the odds and found local work despite COVID-19 impacting employment rates.

The jobseekers have been placed with local companies under a new council initiative called Project BrIMPACT, which helps local businesses recruit and retain more young people facing barriers to employment.

The project has resulted in 24 job outcomes to date.

Franco Saliba is one of the program’s success stories and said his quick rise through the program surprised even himself.

“In September I was unemployed…. I’d just been made redundant in my position working in a remote indigenous community as a sports and recreation officer,” he said.

“So I moved back home to the west, but I found it really hard to find work.”

“Then one night a friend tagged me in a post advertising BrIMPACT on Facebook, so I sent a message, had a meeting and it went from there.”

Under the program Mr Saliba was able to take part in large co-design sessions where council officials, businesses, young people and others met and talked through ideas.

The 23-year-old impressed and was hired by procurement company Arc Blue.

“My current role really lets me focus on business engagement which is something I absolutely love doing,” he said.

“I feel like gone from bottom of this program to the top.”

He lauded the program for offering those with a different background a fighting chance.

“I did things differently… I skipped uni and worked at Maccas for a year,” he said.

“After that I went out to the desert for three years… I’d developed a lot of skills and just needed that foot in the door.”

The council is also continuing to promote Brimbank Joblink, a free online service connecting local business with local jobseekers.

For more information visit: www.brimbankjoblink.com.au/