Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Girls get help to start social work careers

Youth Employment Scheme helps Shepparton teenagers work at Department of Human Services and study for future careers.

ESTELLE GRIEPINK June 4, 2014 3:44am

Department of Human Services trainees Keerln Fitzgerald-Petts and Skye Marsden.

Two Shepparton teenagers have credited the Department of Human Services’ traineeship program for opening doors to their careers in social work.

Keerln Fitzgerald-Petts and Skye Marsden, both 18, are trainees at the Goulburn office in Welsford St, Shepparton.

The department employed them through the Youth Employment Scheme, a Victorian Government initiative aimed at enabling unemployed and disadvantaged young people to enter the workforce and build sustainable careers.

The trainees are employed on a full-time, 12-month basis while simultaneously completing a certificate three or four in a related field of study.

Parliamentary and executive liaison officer Kaye Kuch said the traineeships would provide the two former Shepparton High School students with improved employment options.

‘‘We needed some help in admin and rather than recruit your standard admin staff, we thought we’d provide some opportunities for some young people to develop some skills,’’ Mrs Kuch said.

‘‘We also wanted to provide a positive workplace for them and make sure it is entertaining and varied.’’

Mrs Kuch said Keerln mostly worked in disability services, while Skye manned the desk at reception.

She said the girls had already learned many skills in their first five months.

‘‘They do everything from taking minutes to organising meetings, processing maintenance claims and booking cars,’’ she said.

‘‘Last week we were doing Keerln’s resume and we ended up with a list of 10 or 12 important things she does here. Even she was amazed at the stuff she’s taken on, so it’s a real confidence boost.’’

Keerln and Skye said they were grateful to the department for giving them the opportunity for full-time work.

‘‘If we didn’t have the traineeships, we’d probably still be looking for jobs,’’ Keerln said.

‘‘Everyone is looking for jobs at the moment, it’s hard,’’ Skye said.

Both girls said they were eager to get into social work.

‘‘I’ve always wanted to get into it, and especially I want to work with youth,’’ Skye said.

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