What a year for our local young people! In 2018 Council launched its Future Finders – Leadership and Career Pathways Program, designed to increase local young people’s knowledge and exposure to traditional and non-traditional career pathways, as well as to enhance their leadership skills.
Future Finders saw the delivery of eighteen workshops to 141 young people that taught skills in business, social entrepreneurship and job readiness. In addition to the business workshops, Outdoor Explore ran five leadership days that saw 47 participants get out of the usual classroom setting and into the bush to learn hands on leadership and teambuilding skills.
There was an education taster day with 70 young people attending that highlighted the local training opportunities and application process at TAFE, Notre Dame and the wide network of Western Sydney University offerings.
Two big ticket employers also jumped on board to support the Future Finders program. Energy Australia hosted 20 young people and presented their trainee and apprenticeship opportunities, as well as having their employees share their career pathway journey before setting off on a tour of the Mt Piper power station.
Emirates One&Only Wolgan provided three ‘exclusive behind the scenes’ tours to young people that showed the front and back operations of their establishment where employees highlighted their career pathways which gave students a fantastic opportunity to ask questions and learn more.
Future Finders also supported young Lithgow Halloween musicians by providing a muso boot-camp. Participants learnt how to get the best sound out of their gear, gig etiquette and the importance of networking and building their online portfolios. Stemming from the muso boot-camp and her performance at Lithgow Halloween; Isabelle Cobcroft was awarded the Future Finders Career Helper that will provide her the opportunity to professionally record two tracks. This will help to build her portfolio, online presence and apply for gigs.
Over 300 young people participated in the Future Finders program in 2018, with the Lithgow Youth Leadership Forum rounding things out. The forum ran in November and supported 30 of Lithgow’s young leaders to learn practical leadership and advocacy skills; as well as participated in envisioning Lithgow’s future providing input on what they would like to see for young people in the region.
“This has been an incredible opportunity for the young people of Lithgow to learn practical skills and exposure to employment that can help them with their career choices,” said Mayor Ray Thompson, “The Future Finders program has also provided invaluable knowledge to Council. Through the workshops young people have been able to tell us what is important to them, what they like about Lithgow and what they would like to see improved.”
Council would like to thank the high schools, businesses and learning institutions that have supported the Future Finders program. The program was funded by the Department of Families and Communities through its Youth Opportunities grant. Council will continue to run the program on a smaller scale throughout 2019 and into the future, focusing on supporting youth employment skills and opportunities.