Homelessness on the Gold Coast has become a growing issue, particularly with the current housing crisis and cost of living pressures. This week’s Homeless Connect event was held to directly connect and provide support to community members who may be doing it tough right now. The regular event was held at Carrara Stadium between 7am and 2pm, providing a hot breakfast, live entertainment, activities, a hot lunch, and connection to community support services. In a warm and welcoming environment, community members could connect with health, housing and employment services, as well as other practical services including laundry and free haircuts.
The BUSY Group has been involved in the regular event for many years, providing information and connection to health, employment services, and apprenticeship services. This year, along with attendance by BUSY Ability staff who provide connection to Disability Employment Services and Specialist Employment Services for ex-offenders, three BUSY At Work staff members, Jai Monckton, Amber Agar and Kym Teagle, also offered their hairdressing skills on the day – all three having had former lives as qualified hairdressers.
Jai from BUSY At Work, said, “I’ve participated in the Homeless Connect quite a few times. I’ve always enjoyed helping the community and those who don’t have the same advantages as the average person in life.
“I haven’t worked in a salon in a while, but hairdressing is always something to fall back on. In my current role as an Apprenticeship Field Officer, when I sign a hairdresser up, I say to them, you can learn this skill, go to university, and always come back. I really love my job now – you’re changing people’s lives every day! From a school-based person to someone that’s an older worker, I sign everyone up for an apprenticeship.
“I enjoy meeting people and I enjoy being out there in the field. BUSY At Work is one of the best organizations I’ve ever worked for, and I like how they are very much about supporting the community.”
Amber Agar, Strategic Relations Manager for the BUSY At Work Australian Apprenticeship Services Network team, also provided her qualified hairdressing skills on the day.
“It is great to be able to help people who are currently facing some challenges. Providing them with a service that seems like a small thing can really change the way that someone feels and can help build their confidence.
“Many, many years ago when I completed year 12, I moved straight into my Apprenticeship. A trade is always a great thing to have as you will always have opportunities for employment and the skills you learn in a trade are transferrable.
“After my apprenticeship, I moved into trades education, where I found my passion for Vocational Education and Training. For me, moving into this role was a natural progression to continue in the industry I love and continue to expand my knowledge.
“I love working with employers to support their apprenticeship programs that will provide our future generations with skills to grow the individual and industry, and I enjoy working with a team that has a shared genuine value in changing lives through providing opportunities in education, employment, and training.”
The BUSY Group is a not-for-profit organisation that has been supporting community members on the Gold Coast for over 45 years, and now delivering programs throughout Australia. BUSY provide employment and career pathway services for individuals and skills needs for business. The group invests education, community housing initiatives, sponsorships, and donations to support marginalised community members. Find out more
Find out more about Gold Coast Homeless Connect.
Amber, Kym and Jai, who work in the Australian Apprenticeship Network Provider services for BUSY At Work, put their prior qualifications in haircutting to good use at the Gold Coast Homeless Connect event.