A Fair Go for Geelong

Geelong manufacturers are giving disadvantaged young people an extra helping hand as part of a program designed to help 18 to 24 year olds to become job ready.

Innovative manufacturer and long-time member of the GMC, Air Radiators, is one of a number of organisations supporting the Northern Futures program by providing critical experience and on the job mentors for trainees.

Air Radiators has been supporting Northern Futures’ young people for almost 10 years.  HR Manager Helen Craven, spoke to September’s GMC Connect online event about the ongoing successes of the scheme.

“The benefits to our business have been huge,” she said. “Northern Futures has helped inject younger workers into our ageing workforce, and the opportunity to mentor young workers has been a positive for our workplace culture.”

Northern Futures has been working since 2008 to help disadvantaged young people gain valuable skills and experience. Many of the participants come from backgrounds of inter-generational unemployment.

Ms Craven said the program had been a learning experience for the whole company, especially a lesson in not making assumptions that others know what you know. “Many participants have never seen someone get up in the morning and go to work,” she said.

Air Radiators’ General Manager, Jamie Baensch, told GMC members: “Starting some on reduced hours has helped. Some are not sure how to organise their lunch. You can’t assume anything,” he said.

Participating in the program is an opportunity for businesses to give back, while also building workforce skills and giving a group of young people a sense of purpose and achievement.

While providing experience to long-term unemployed wasn’t always smooth sailing, Helen said, “Northern Futures have supported us all the way. They’ve adapted to our requirements and worked with us to create a true partnership.”

Photo: Northern Futures participants  Mitchell Redfern, Ryan Engel, Cobie McPhee and Ali Rezai. (Alan Barber for Geelong Advertister)