Pathway to a better life
By JULIA ILES
YOUNG people aged 13-19 who experience domestic and personal obstacles will benefit from a program designed to address dwindling workforce numbers.
Youth Pathways, which was launched on Monday in Grafton, targets students who may be at risk of falling through the cracks when it comes to the transition to further education and employment, and allows for individual counselling and assistance.
Tursa Employment and Training has run the program for two months and currently services 50 young people. It has a budget to cater for 191 people over the course of the year.
Zeta Bourke, 17, who attends the Links for Learning program four days a week in South Grafton, meets with a Youth Pathways counsellor once a week.
She joined the program after suffering personal problems and said before starting she didn't know what she wanted to do for a job.
"Me and two friends are going to study childcare at TAFE next year; I really like children and have experience with my two sisters and three brothers," she said.
Regional manager for the Coffs/Clarence region, Greg Watt, said the program was about working with the young people to find ways to keep them in school.
"We get referrals from different areas such as schools and Centrelink, we aim to help them make a successful adjustment into the workforce, where they might have fallen through the cracks," he said.
Counsellor Deb Phee said young people came to the program with a variety of issues, from domestic violence to a parent's illness.
The program is run through the Department of Science, Education and Training under Federal Government funding. Member for Page Ian Causley, who launched the program, said Youth Pathways was in place to ensure a basic education.
Mr Causley said there was special need for such a program in the Valley due to its low socio-economic status.