Funding for BackTrack to help youth unemployment announced

SUPPORT: Ike Roberts, Adam Marshall, Liam Roberts, Chris McCormack, Bernie Shakeshaft and Jack Ackling attended the funding announcement on Thursday morning.
SUPPORT: Ike Roberts, Adam Marshall, Liam Roberts, Chris McCormack, Bernie Shakeshaft and Jack Ackling attended the funding announcement on Thursday morning.

BackTrack was one successful bidder in the NSW government's Youth Employment Innovation Challenge and has received $710,000 to support its work with disengaged youth by preparing them for employment through a staged "back to basics" process that has proven to be very successful.

Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall announced the funding along with BackTrack founder and CEO Bernie Shakeshaft, who said one of the things they had been working with on with Mr Marshall for a long time was the recognition of the soft skills.

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"Can you show up with the right gear and have your boots on? Can you work for a full day? We've got lots of different stages. I think we've already got 16 boys up and well engaged in the program," Bernie said.

"The initiative is just fantastic. It's things like, if a kid doesn't show up, how are you going to get him a job? You know? And this is an opportunity for us to concentrate on all those things.

"This is about finding solutions to youth unemployment. One of the most common things people spot here is, a young fella shows up, shakes your hand and looks you in the eye. You might not think that means much, but it makes a big difference."

Bernie said it was that, and creating opportunities.

Mr Marshall said if BackTrack successful achieved its goals over the following year it would almost certainly get this funding on a continual basis.

"You can't put a value on turning people's lives around and giving young people the opportunity to get some skills and get a job," he said.

"A good job and a regular pay cheque does a huge amount of good, not just for the individual, but also for society.

"BackTrack have done a terrific job in supporting lots of young people that the various systems have let down or failed and now this is taking it to the next level. We want them to participate in society and that's what they are doing."

This story BackTrack funding to help youth unemployment announced first appeared on The Armidale Express.