ON THE JOB: Luke Craig, Jarrod Pickering and Madeline Peace have helped to build a house at Yarrabilba as part of a BoysTown initiative to lower youth unemployment.
ON THE JOB: Luke Craig, Jarrod Pickering and Madeline Peace have helped to build a house at Yarrabilba as part of a BoysTown initiative to lower youth unemployment. Kelly Daniels

BoysTown initiative to lower youth unemployment

WITH youth unemployment in Ipswich sitting at more than 11%, 18-year-old Jarrod Pickering knew finding a job would be tough.

So when the Lowood teenager was offered a position in a BoysTown program, he jumped at the chance.

Alongside eight other unemployed and disadvantaged youth, Mr Pickering helped build a house at one of Logan's newest projects, Yarrabilba.

The program teamed unemployed young people with some of Australia's biggest companies to provide work skills and training, with the end goal to find a permanent job.

The nine young people, including five school-based apprentices from BoysTown's Indigenous Youth Careers Pathway Program, worked alongside qualified trainers to build the new, four-bedroom home, in Lend Lease's community at Yarrabilba.

Mr Pickering said he was studying his apprenticeship through BoysTown, after joining the project several months ago.

"I wanted to start in carpentry, and my mate recommended the BoysTown program to get a headstart," he said.

"It's a tough job market out there, and I'm hoping this will lead to something really good for me."

BoysTown employment and training general manager John Perry said the project was the organisation's second "Build and Sell" construction initiative in south-east Queensland.

"This social enterprise program, like our other youth support programs, places a strong emphasis on employability and life skills development as well as providing support to find ongoing employment when the project is completed," he said.

Four young people were working on the construction at any one time, rotating through a variety of jobs from carpentry to landscaping.

"Our goal is to transition these young people into ongoing sustainable employment with other project contractors working in Yarrabilba," Mr Perry said.

"Two of our construction team from this build are already earmarked for jobs."

BoysTown CEO Tracy Adams said the organisation was not in the building game, but had ventured into this project to give young people a chance.

"At BoysTown we not only want to have the conversation about youth unemployment, we also want to do something about it," she said.

Peter Cummins, of Lend Lease, said his organisation had learnt a lot from BoysTown.

"This program is working," he said.



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