A unique work experience and training initiative has been created by local registered training organisation Training Prospects, City of Playford and the South Australian Department of State Development which provides a group of young job seekers with real world work experience and new skills.

Participating job seekers, who have been actively seeking employment within the Playford region, will gain horticulture and landscaping experience, increasing their employability skills whilst gaining real employment confidence and experience.

The initiative was created in recognition of the continuing high levels of youth unemployment in Australia. The Australian youth unemployment rate of 12.9 per cent (March 2016, ABS, unemployment rate 15-24 year olds), reflects both a reduction in entry level jobs available in the Australian labour force and an increasing desire among employers to employ those with experience.

It is difficult, however, for a young person to get experience when he or she cannot get a job in the first place.

This is the catch-22 that one of the project participants, Terry, 22, finds himself in.

“I guess I need experience because everyone (employers) wants it.”

But how do you gain experience if no one will give you a job at which to gain it?

Accredited training components of the program, undertaken by Training Prospects, include manual handling, White Card and basic levelling, all highly transferable and required skills for employment in the horticulture, landscaping and construction industries. Program participants will then participate in a City of Playford development project to remove 400 square metres of grass from Spruance Oval (off Main North Road, Elizabeth) to transfer and lay on the Midway Road Roundabout, Elizabeth East, readying the site for the Playford City Sports Precinct Tennis Centre development.

The project is being supported by local employer, Urban Irrigation and Landscaping.

According to Training Prospects general manager, Mark Gorringe, the project will bring many benefits to the participants and to the local community generally.

“The young people are working on a project in their community and, in our experience, that’s really, really important. To have local people working on local projects helps build community spirit and pride” Mr Gorringe said.

“Given the current climate, where we are seeing manufacturing sector contraction, I think the City of Playford can help young people, particularly young people who are seeking jobs, by facilitating the opportunity to gain experience that will be valued by potential employers in the future.”

City of Playford Mayor Glenn Docherty said this is the first live-training program as part of the $55 million Playford City Sports Precinct.

“We want to ensure we support our young people into meaningful training and employment,” Mayor Docherty said.

“To provide local job seekers with the necessary skills to open up future job prospects is absolutely critical.”

For Terry, the opportunity to meet and interact with employers represents a big benefit of live-training.

“If you apply online you’re probably not going to get it because you’re not going into the place to show that you’re enthused.”

Getting to meet with prospective employers, on a live worksite, provides that added insight into what employers are looking for from a job seeker and Terry hopes this will help him achieve his goal of finding a job.

The first live-training project will be completed on Friday May 20th 2016.