Member for Page Janelle Saffin today congratulated an Australian Government Work for the Dole team for their commitment and enthusiasm during their training program at the New School of Arts Neighbourhood House in South Grafton. 

The six-month project gave team members the opportunity to train in the day-to-day operations of a childcare centre and to participate in youth programs offered at the Neighbourhood House. The team also completed some maintenance and gardening projects at the site. 

Ms Saffin said the team contributed a great deal to the local community.

“This has been a terrific project,” she said.

“The New School of Arts Neighbourhood House plays a vital role in Grafton. It provides much needed childcare and youth services in the local community.”

The project has allowed team members to develop skills in administration, gardening, building and communications, while working closely with two valuable local organisations.

“With their new work skills and experience working in a team and liaising with the community, team members are in a better position to take up future employment opportunities,” Ms Saffin said.   

“I commend local training organisation, Tursa Employment and Training Incorporated, and the New School of Arts Neighbourhood House for their support for this project.” 

Ms Saffin said that in line with its election commitment, the Australian Government had reviewed the current employment services and would retain and significantly improve the Work for the Dole program.

“Following extensive consultation, the Government has designed a new, streamlined employment services system that will provide more tailored services for job seekers,” she said.

“Work for the Dole will be an important part of the new employment services that will begin on 1 July 2009. It will have stronger links to training and a focus on securing work beyond the dole.”

Since the introduction of the Government’s Work for the Dole scheme in 1997, more than 628,000 unemployed Australians have taken part in almost 37,000 approved projects across Australia.

More information on the new employment services is at www.workplace.gov.au