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SYC began delivering the three week program in 2012. Since then we have delivered 10 programs to 110 First Nations job seekers, across three states.

The program has a focus on targeting rural locations to address their high unemployment rate and works to attract people who have been out of the workforce for many years, or never previously been employed.

The successful recruits are guaranteed a minimum of 15 hours work per week. They also receive 6 months post-placement mentorship to support a smooth transition into their role and help them to overcome any barriers they may face.

Scott Whitmore, SYC Business Development Manager, says working with Coles to deliver the First Steps Program is seeing great outcomes for participants.

“Over the past 6 years that we have been delivering the First Steps training we have placed over 100 First Nations people into work with Coles.” Scott said.

“All participants have to work hard to be offered a position and need to comply with all aspects of the course curriculum. We teach the participants to believe in themselves and their abilities and they come out at the end with a great sense of achievement and are ready to make their mark in the workforce. It’s rewarding to be a part of their journey and witness their transformation over the program,” Scott said.

Matthew Barry undertook the First Steps Training with SYC in 2015. He has now been employed by Coles for nearly three years and works as a Customer Services Supervisor.

“I love my role at Coles and I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t undertake the First Steps training,” Matthew said.

“This is my first job and I was unemployed for over 2 years before I was invited to join the program. I now work up to 40 hours per week and supervise 10 to 15 employees on any shift. I want to stay with Coles long-term and move around the organisation to see how all areas of the business works,” Matthew said.