Bundarra youngsters ready to build a career from the ground up

BUILDING CAREERS: From left: Jeff McKinlay, Emily Hughes and Dru Beaton from Bundarra Central School. Photo: Gareth Gardner 210916GGD03

BUILDING CAREERS: From left: Jeff McKinlay, Emily Hughes and Dru Beaton from Bundarra Central School. Photo: Gareth Gardner 210916GGD03

FOR the young and unemployed, getting work in a regional town can be like moving mountains.

A group of Bundarra youngsters have put their best foot forward when it comes to moving that impasse, through the Crossing the Divide program.

Emily Hughes, 21, will be one of the program’s graduates and admitted she’d be “probably nowhere” without it.

The program targets “disengaged youth” from Bundurra, helping them get reconnected with education and workplace ready.

“At high school, it’s theory, theory, theory and the teachers normally focus on the really smart kids,” Ms Hughes said.

“I had trouble in school, I had trouble learning, but ever since I came to Crossing the Divide, it helped me out a lot and gave me a different perspective on life.”

The program, run in partnership with the Careers Network and Tafe New England, takes a different approach at educating kids who dropped out of school.

“It’s way better,” Ms Hughes said.

“It is hands-on and practical, and the teachers are just amazing.”

Coming out with civil construction qualifications, Ms Hughes has her heart set on becoming a mechanic.

“I’ve always been interested in it and it’s something I love doing,” she said.

The graduate still says good work is hard to find for her age bracket in Bundarra and across the region.

“I guess the companies want younger workers,” Ms Hughes said.

“[Also] qualified and experienced, which is hard because you’re looking for experience but you can’t find it.”

Ms Hughes was the only female to come through the civil construction course, it may set her a part as a potential employee, but Bundarra Central School Crossing the Divide coordinator, Dru Beaton says its not about gender, it’s about people who are ready to work.

“We don’t see gender, it’s whoever turns up,” Mr Beaton said. “So many girls just don’t think they’re able to do it.They certainly can, some of our best students have been girls, it doesn’t really matter.”

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