Ladder Step Up launches in the Latrobe Valley

Staff writer

Unemployed young people in Latrobe Valley will receive a kick start to their career prospects with help from Ladder and the AFL industry.

A new partnership between the Latrobe Valley Authority and Ladder will deliver an 18 month pilot to upskill disadvantaged youth, using the resources of the AFL industry to provide the skills necessary to secure ongoing work.

Ladder CEO Elisabeth Tuckey said Ladder was established by a group of AFL players in 2007 in a bid to empower young people to break the cycle of homelessness and its consequences. Ladder is the Official Charity of AFL Players and a national partner of the AFL.

“The Ladder Step Up Latrobe Valley program will support young people aged 16 - 25 who are experiencing or at-risk of long term unemployment, to upskill and secure ongoing work.

“Ladder’s approach is to focus on young people’s strengths and what they can achieve. It is about developing self-confidence and helping young people to identify and achieve their life goals,” Ms Tuckey said.

Latrobe Valley Authority Chief Executive Officer Karen Cain said the program was part of Latrobe Valley Authority’s commitment to ensuring everyone, including local young people, were able to take advantage of our region’s growth through involvement in the workforce.

“With Ladder’s strong coaching philosophy, work experience provided by corporate and community partners, and engagement with AFL footballers as mentors, this program will set local young people up for success,“ Ms Cain said.

The pilot program will target more than 60 people aged 16 to 25 who face barriers to employment and are at risk of homelessness residing in or near Morwell, Moe or Churchill over eighteen months.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the region’s youth unemployment rate is 15.8 per cent, compared with a non-metropolitan average of 10.1 per cent.

The program specifically for young people will add to the range of initiatives underway which to support employment for people in Latrobe Valley, which includes helping businesses expand and diversify and tender for major government contracts.

Almost 300 jobs have been created in local businesses through the Latrobe Valley Economic Facilitation Fund, 300 local unemployed people have been employed through the expanded Back to Work Scheme, and 48 former Hazelwood employees have secured employment with other power generators as a result of the Worker Transfer Scheme.

Young people from the Ladder program were present at the announcement and shared their experiences

The Member for Eastern Victoria, Ms Harriet Shing MLC formally launched the program

From left, AFLW player and Ladder Development Coach, Karen Paxman; Ladder CEO, Elisabeth Tuckey, Latrobe Valley Authority CEO Karen Cain; Member for Eastern Victoria, Ms Harriet Shing MLC; and former Ladder program participant, Billy-Jack

From left, AFL Gippsland GM, Travis Switzer; Ladder CEO, Elisabeth Tuckey and Member for Eastern Victoria, Ms Harriet Shing MLC