THE Gippsland Regional Agrifood Employment Program (GRAEP) has reached a significant two-year milestone of 88 people now in continuous employment.
Since April 2017, GRAEP manager Julie Tuhi has been an integral part of that success, supporting job seekers and potential employers through a combination of training and mentoring support, along with industry experiences and placements.
In this time, 130 people have been placed in agribusiness related jobs, with 88 of them achieving continuous employment. This represents a 67 per cent conversion rate and is a big milestone with numerous positive flow-on effects both to the individuals and the community as a whole.
Financially supported by the Jobs Victoria Employment Network, GRAEP was successfully implemented under the East Gippsland Food Cluster banner and, in the amalgamation of EGFC and Agribusiness Gippsland to form Food & Fibre Gippsland, the program has transitioned smoothly into the merged body. Food & Fibre Gippsland Interim CEO Dr Nicola Watts is delighted with the results. She said the program plays a vital role in the Gippsland employment scene.
“The data tells us the very satisfying and compelling story where the continuous employment figures of six months or longer indicate a new pattern of secure and ongoing engagement between employers and employees,” she said.
“The aim of the program has always been that jobseekers benefit from a more coordinated and streamlined approach that not only increases work readiness but also results in sustainable employment – so these figures are really a very clear indicator that we are on the right track.”
From labour hire companies to large scale horticulture operations, dairy farms and food manufacturing businesses across the region, the diversity and geographic spread of Gippsland employers and job seekers who continue to benefit from the program is a solid indication of the flexibility of the support it offers.
For job seekers, GRAEP assists them in finding permanent employment and career opportunities in Gippsland’s vibrant agrifood sector via training, support and mentoring as required to find, and stay, in permanent employment.
Meanwhile for employers, the program is designed to help them build and plan their workforce capability by finding job-ready people for their immediate and future needs.
Under Julie’s guidance, supported by participant liaison officer Nikki Keddie, employers are able to tap into a range of incentives and support services that can help facilitate a smooth transition for job seekers into their businesses.
For employers and job-seekers wanting to access the support of this program, there is a simple registration form online at www.foodandfibregippsland.com.au/employment-program. Victorian Government support for the Gippsland Regional Agrifood Employment Program is ongoing through to 2020.