Photo: Karyn OBrien from Burwood Girls High with Shy Lomas, current Job Ready program student

Local cafes and large corporations mixed with Job Ready program students and graduates at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence’s job networking event, Job at First Bite in late November.

The Job at First Bite event was about finding ways to partner for sustainable employment and the companies who attended included Stockland, Fresh Catering, Harry’s Cafe, Clem’s Chicken, Gardiners Lodge, Sodexo and Compass.

In one short lunch of delicious food prepared by chefs Mat Cribb, Jaye Tyrrell and some of the Job Ready team, ten job offers were made and future commitments locked in.

Photo: Rosella Panna Cotta made by the talented chefs at the NCIE conference centre.

The NCIE’s ten-year-old Job Ready program, which equips Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a Certificate II in Hospitality, is lead by Aunty Beryl Van-Oploo and Mat Cribb

The program takes a long-term approach to employment, supporting graduates for many years after they finish the course.

Photo: Employment Ambassador Aunty Beryl, Job Ready graduate, Elkyrra Glass & Hospitality Development Manager, Margaret Haumono.

“Many of our students are facing so many challenges and I’m privileged to be able to support all participants and be surrounded by them here today,” said Aunty Beryl.

“Job Ready trains 60 people every year and assists them into employment, and we keep in touch with graduates from many years ago.

“Sometimes it takes more than an eight week course to assist someone into employment, the mentoring and support we offer always goes above and beyond what a normal training centre would offer.”

One of those first graduates in 2006 was Bundjalung and Wiradjuri woman Lisa Mundine who now runs her own business.

Photo: Lisa Mundine, Job Ready graduate of class 2006.

“The course was more than just about learning skills, we were encouraged to think about other industries, and given help to go on and keep going,” she said.

“I want to work with my people, help our mob, and everyone here today has the same goal.”

Photo: Mark Thomson from Sodexo and Kirstie Parker CEO of the NCIE.

NCIE CEO, Kirstie Parker said, “Job Ready gives young people the confidence to realise their full potential, and gives them the tools to pave the way to a successful career.

“We’re so proud of the achievements of the graduates; the program has shown to be an asset to both the young people and their communities,” she said.

The next Job Ready course at the NCIE starts in February 2017.