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E2E program forging local Gen Z career pathways

Amanda Shields always knew she wanted to work outdoors in a hands-on role. Thanks to an industry-leading Lake Macquarie City Council employment program aimed at young people graduating from school, university or TAFE, she now has that opportunity.

The 23-year-old is one of 27 new trainees recruited under Council’s E2E (Education to Employment) program, whose 2021 intake includes designated positions for women in non-traditional roles and, separately, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers.

E2E participants undertake a 1-3-year employment tenure, rotating through various groups within their department to gain wider experience while training and/or studying for formal qualifications.

Most fall into the Gen Z category of people born from 1997 onward.

As a trainee Works Assistant, Ms Shields will gain new skills in Council’s City Presentation, City Construction and City Infrastructure teams, all of which have traditionally been male-dominated roles.

“I have a passion for the outdoors and have always loved anything hands-on, so being able to work outdoors and learn new skills in a very hands-on position is a big win for me,” she said.

“It was a little intimidating at first, knowing I was going to be the only female in my team, but I have always been interested in working in this field and I’m confident I will be a good fit for the role.”

Director Organisational Services Laura Kendall said including designated roles for women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees increased workplace diversity and broadened career opportunities for participants.

“This is a win-win program,” Ms Kendall said.

“Council gains the vibrant enthusiasm, skills and diversity of young people in our community, and the trainees are provided a foundation to their careers aimed at setting them up for life.”

Lake Macquarie Mayor Cr Kay Fraser said the E2E program allowed participants to gain on-the-job experience and receive professional mentoring, hopefully graduating with formal qualifications.

“It’s fantastic, particularly during these challenging times, to be able to offer local employment to young people in our community,” Cr Fraser said.

Kadason Haynes, 19, will also work on Council’s outdoors crews for the next 12 months as part of the E2E program.

An Awabakal man, Mr Haynes welcomed the move to provide designated positions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“It gives my people a chance to get out and get a qualification and experience,” he said.

“I want to earn money to save up for a house, further my experiences and skill set, meet new people and develop my skills for future employment.”

Go to lakemac.com.au for more information on the E2E program.

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