Jobs Fair had opportunities galore at Gippsland Centre

Alice Fyffe (second from left) and Rachel Baggaley drove up from Yarram to check out the Jobs Fair. Also pictured is Kobi Laudani (left) and Sarah Elson from Forest Fire Management Victoria.

Stefan Bradley

ABOUT 35 employers set up displays throughout the Gippsland Centre for The Middle of Everywhere Jobs Fair last Thursday.

The fair was held to help locals find connections to employment, educational opportunities and career pathways.

Elisha Hoghton and Jacki Manser representing Little Saints Early Centre in Maffra.

Centre Manager, Emma Waghorne described the event as a success, saying she believes it could run annually, and is in talks about a jobs fair just for high school students.

Prospective job hunters could show up with their resumes and get tip-offs about jobs or sign up for programs. Some people could find their next job right there on the spot.

Koorie Engagement Support Office for Wellington, Kim McLaughlin (left) and Joanne Brunt from Latrobe City Council at the Steps to the Future display.

“Attendance was very good and conversations were happening with employers,” Ms Waghorne said.

“We had sites set all across the mall. Quite a few employers actually filled their positions on the day.”

Erin O’Neil from Wellington Shire Council said she was impressed by the turnout, and said she had conversations with people who had recently moved to Wellington and were looking for work.

“We have over 115 services that we offer to our community, so there’s always loads of jobs,” she said.

“Our most popular jobs are definitely within our outdoor workforce, so horticulturists and mowers at our depots. But we also have a range of professional roles like engineers and town planners that are popular as well.

Tamara Ryan and Greg Sage from ATAC (Air Training and Aviation Commons) workforces team. Photos: Stefan Bradley

“We want to encourage local kids and school leavers to find their professional career back here in Gippsland.”

The Step to the Future program aims to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment opportunities in Gippsland, and is run by Latrobe City Council. Joanne Brunt, from Latrobe City, said the jobs fair was a great opportunity to showcase the training and employment opportunities available for Indigenous Gippslanders.

“We have lots of employers for social procurement targets. The Sale Hospital has Aboriginal traineeship programs,” she said.

“There are programs at the RAAF Base, we have apprenticeships at AGL…(there are opportunities) in health, land management and community services.”

Lisa Robinson from Your Care Choice of Latrobe Community Health (LCH) said there are many jobs in aged care, including for those with no formal qualifications who can work for “outstanding” pay.

LCH has a presence across the whole state, including in Wellington.

“Most people coming to see us are just curious to see what’s on offer and particularly locally,” she said.

Chloe Lambourn, Erin O’Neil, Bethany Saxon and Emilie Davine from Wellington Shire Council at the jobs fair.

Karishma Dunn is the Career and Recruitment Consultant for apprenticeship support network MEGT, and said she had found that not many people understood everything about apprenticeship programs.

“The apprenticeship program lets you study part-time while you’re working fulltime or part time,” she said.

“So it’s an option where you can still cover your expenses but get that extra qualification.”

Ms Dunn said the most prominent qualifications include construction, community service, aged care, disability support, and education.

Stores within the mall also encouraged jobseekers to approach them about employment opportunities, allowing about 40 extra employers to take part in the fair without putting up a display.

Gemma Francis (back, from left) from Latrobe Community Health and Lisa Robinson from Your Care Choice talking to jobseekers.

There was a large variety of jobs featured, including in the Air Force, firefighting, policing, aged care, nursing, retail, administration and hospitality.

“There wasn’t really anything over-represented, there was a good mix of everything for a variety of skill and age levels,” Ms Waghorne said.

Chellce Ward from George Gray Centre in Maffra.

“And we want to be able to host other events in the year. As much as we are a shopping centre, we’re also a venue.”