Program kicks over obstacles for job seekers

UPSKILLING: Natasha Jackson, Bethanie Thompson, NSW YWCA CEO Anna Bligh, Kayleen Johnson, Chloe Morris and Karen Hogan at the Community in the Kitchen program graduation.
UPSKILLING: Natasha Jackson, Bethanie Thompson, NSW YWCA CEO Anna Bligh, Kayleen Johnson, Chloe Morris and Karen Hogan at the Community in the Kitchen program graduation. Rodney Stevens

AFTER being fed up with school, doors are now opening for Lismore's Bethanie Thompson after completing the YWCA Community in the Kitchen program.

The 17-year-old was one of 11 graduands who were presented with a Certificate II in skills for work and training by YWCA NSW chief executive officer Anna Bligh at the YWCA Goonellabah on Thursday. The program taught students life skills in areas including hospitality, communication, sustainability, teamwork, resilience, employer expectations, apprenticeship pathways and budgeting.

After struggling at school, Bethanie said she met new friends and learned new skills in the Community in the Kitchen program.

"I didn't like school and the way TAFE is set out, it's a much better learning experience where you don't get treated like a child," she said.

"As I am an independent child it is important to be able to cook for myself at home and I hope my skills help me to get a job."

Learning new recipes, skills and techniques was what 20-year-old Kayleen Johnson enjoyed most about the program.

"I wanted to learn new skills and be able to cook for my family," she said.

"I would like to get work in a large club in the kitchen or in a cafe."

Ms Bligh said the free program would not be available without the collaboration between the YWCA, North Coast Institute of Tafe, Youth Connections North Coast and the Greater Charitable Foundation.

She said the graduands were now equipped with the skills to overcome the hurdles of obtaining employment.

"What this program does is to help people in the Northern Rivers knock over those hurdles in getting a job," she said.

"Its education and skills that unlock the world for all of us."

YWCA program coordinator Brooke Cunningham said the students were taught specific skills local employers are seeking.

"It's been a fantastic journey and every individual has overcome barriers."

Visit to enrol in the next Community in the Kitchen program which starts soon.

Topics:  ywca

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