Neighbourhood Jobs, a social enterprise committed to training and empowering unemployed young people in Western Sydney, has won the ARUP Partnering for Impact Grant at the 2020 ZEST Awards. Since its establishment in late 2018, the enterprise has employed 60 young people in the region, empowering them with the resources and skills to pursue further employment.
Owned by Wentworth Community Housing, Neighbourhood Jobs is a not-for-profit property care company that employs and trains young people in Western Sydney. They currently provide lawn care and maintenance services to over 400 customers. The $5,000 grant from ARUP will be used by Neighbourhood Jobs to continue their work in the community.
“We’re thrilled to be given this grant from ARUP so we can continue helping young people,” says Heather Chaffey, Wentworth’s Sustainable Communities Manager.
“Through our work over the past two years, we’ve witnessed young people turning their life around and securing long-term employment—all because they were given the opportunity they needed. Many of the people we employ have faced significant disadvantage in their life. By training them up with in-demand skills, we are breaking the cycle that can end up leading to unemployment and homelessness down the track.”
Of the 60 young people Neighbourhood Jobs has employed in two years, 44 have completed the full development program and 26 have gone on to secure their next job, mostly as apprentices. 13 have returned to education. The program has also welcomed a diverse range of employees, including 30% who are Aboriginal, 31% who have some form of disability and 20% young women.
Western Sydney is Australia’s most significant urban growth region, but youth unemployment currently exceeds 26%. It’s estimated the impact from COVID-19 will exacerbate this trend.
“ARUP is on the ground in Western Sydney; we want to help the region fulfil its potential and ambition to be a dynamic community of economic, cultural, social and environmental vitality,” says Arup’s Australasia Community Engagement Manager Michelle Cheah.
“Young people are the key to the future of Western Sydney. Working together with business and community is crucial to addressing youth unemployment We sincerely appreciate ARUP’s commitment to our communities,” says Stephen McIntyre, CEO of Wentworth Community Housing.
Last month, Neighbourhood Jobs was also recognised with the Exceptional Project in a Not-for-Profit Award in the ZEST Awards.
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