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Shire wins accolade for youth project

THE Shire of Kalamunda has picked up a national award for its innovative youth engagement projects.

Winners of the 2017 national awards for local government were announced this week, with the shire’s youth employment project taking out the category for ‘youth economic participation’.

The award recognises the shire’s work in delivering a local careers expo and a young creative entrepreneurs project.

Shire President Andrew Waddell said the Kalamunda careers expo started with the idea of bringing together a wide range of career development providers, partners and schools for one day a year to make a lifetime of difference for young people.

“Whilst the concept of a careers expo is not original in itself, it is unusual for local government to wholly manage one,” he said.

“The shire put together the first expo in 2013.

“Over 600 students and 30 exhibitors participated.

“This has become an annual event and we are now expanding the ‘reach’ beyond our own shire boundaries, to help as many young people as possible make that all-important successful transition from school into employment.

“The expo continues to meet youth employment challenges, always looking ahead to meet new demands and being innovative in its ideas.”

Building on the success of previous years, the 2016 expo incorporated the option that school leavers could consider starting their own businesses.

The shire engaged specialist advisers to attend the expo to liaise with young people with a passion that could be transitioned into commercial practice.

This saw an extension of the careers expo into a training and mentoring opportunity for would-be entrepreneurs,” Mr Waddell said.

“In partnership with the local rotarians, young people were provided with free stalls from which to sell their creative product at the community markets.

“The opportunity was followed by a series of customised workshops to train young people in the practicalities of starting their own business and marketing their products”.

The expo has developed each year in different ways and constantly seeks to be innovative, ‘tweaking’ individual aspects and increasing interactive elements.

As well as the more traditional exhibitors, the expo includes a range of skill development opportunities, reflecting the more serial nature of contemporary careers                                                                                                      able to find paid work or entry level positions, with or without study options, are encouraged to seek out opportunities to build their skill portfolio so when employment opportunities arise, they are well-placed to capitalise.

This area now includes specialist guidance on gap years, internships, volunteering, entrepreneur-ship and creativity.

The 2017 Kalamunda careers expo will be held this Tuesday, May 9 from 10am at the Kalamunda Performing Arts Centre, 48 Canning Road, Kalamunda.

All community members are encouraged to attend.

The national awards for local government recognise Australian local government achievements annually.

The awards highlight innovative and resourceful solutions that local governments have implemented to make a difference within their communities.

They celebrate local government projects that are innovative, deliver better outcomes for communities, have the potential to be rolled out across the country and make a meaningful difference.

They are administered by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development with support from sponsoring Australian government departments, Optus Business and Woodside Energy Ltd.

Watch the shire’s video on YouTube here  https://youtu.be/wl8Bw1WCe24

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