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Exciting new Work for the Dole project gets underway in Bowen

Celeste Azzopardi puts the finishing touches to a pot plant stand made from recycled pallets.

Having recently become the jobactive Work for the Dole (WFD) Coordinator for the Mackay employment region, BUSY At Work now has an exciting new project underway.

BUSY At Work, WFD Administration Support Officer, Debbie Hildebrand said she hopes the project leads to new employment opportunities within Bowen.

“In August BUSY At Work, Indigenous Community Organisation, Girudala, NEATO, Max Employment and Community Solutions developed a unique partnership to re-cycle used pallets into items of use.”

“The project named ‘Pallets 4 Life’ is part of the Work for the Dole Program – Career Advancement Program. By working with the local employment agencies BUSY At Work are able to supply job seekers who in return are upskilled to be job ready,” Ms Hildebrand said.

Michelle Hooke from Girudala said the recycled pallets were already starting to gain popularity in the local region because they were environmentally friendly.

“We are excited about the fact that the community will have an outlet that specialises in recycling pallets to produce practical every day outdoor items. We feel confident that the outlet has the potential to develop into a small business that could eventually provide new employment opportunities.”

Michelle said many local businesses had supported the project by donating large numbers of pallets.

“Their continuous support has been invaluable and we are particularly thankful to Pilchers, Bowen Paint and Tiles, Bill Dreger Glass & Aluminium, Rugby Farms Ltd, Bowen Home Hardware and local freight companies,” Ms Hooke added.

To get the project underway Bowen local handyman Anthony Nicholls has been hired to supervise and work with the job seekers.

“Anthony has a vast background in home renovations and supervision and has taken on this role with great enthusiasm. With his strong work ethic and self motivation, we feel Anthony is the right person to bring out the best in the job seekers,” Ms Hooke said.

Debbie said the job seekers were selected from employment agencies through an induction and screening process.

“The job seekers have the opportunity to upskill their knowledge base and gain jobs or new training opportunities. We currently have 10 participants involved and are helping them to become job ready by giving them some basic skills in factory production work including learning how to use hand and power tools.”

Since starting last week Michelle said the “The Pallets” project have produced work benches and planter boxes. Outdoor settings, benches, BBQ trolleys and chairs are already being requested by the community.

“We are delighted to get this project off the ground and proud that the community will have a public outlet to purchase items from recycled pallets that are unique and original. At the end of the project we want the job seekers to be proud of what they have achieved and the community they live in,” Ms Hildebrand said.

BUSY At Work CEO, Paul Miles said BUSY was pleased to be a key player in the new Work for the Dole initiative.

“We are delighted to be supporting this project and believe it will provide valuable experience in a practical work environment. We are keen to expand our role in the Mackay region and projects such as these can generate real employment outcomes for local job seekers,” Mr. Miles said.

The WFD program is an initiative of the Australian Government and administered by the Department of Employment.

End

MEDIA CONTACT: Leanne Macnamara, Public Relations Coordinator

0438 173 960 leanne.macnamara@busyatwork.com.au

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