IN THIS, the season of giving, a Warwick businessman is challenging business leaders to deliver 100 jobs to unemployed young people for Christmas.
The challenge is centred around stimulating growth and jobs for young unemployed people in regional areas and the State Government has come to the party, recently announcing its Youth Boost payment initiative.
The $20,000 payment is an employer support payment offered under Back to Work, and is specifically targeted towards employers who hire a young unemployed person between 15-24 years during the specified period, which runs between December 1, 2016 and February 28, 2017.
The Youth Boost payment is made up of three instalments, which will be paid directly to employers across a 12-month employment period.
The first payment of $6000 is paid after four weeks of continuous employment.
The man behind the challenge, real estate agent Darryl Evans, said business owners making a profit from the community should have a moral obligation to give the youth of Warwick a job.
"The government has done its part putting up $20,000 per employee," he said.
"I expect the business community to take advantage of the employment grant and give a young person an opportunity.
"One hundred jobs times $20,000 grants is $2 million injected into our community."
And he's leading the way, having already hired 16-year-old Jhina Sutton.
It was Darryl Evans Real Estate property manager Linda Rutledge who initially got the ball rolling.
"We were looking to put a junior on and about the same time, the Youth Boost funding was announced," Mrs Rutledge said.
"I had worked for an indigenous training organisation at Camooweal previously and had a good idea about all the different types of federal and state government money available to employers to support the hiring of unemployed people.
"The Youth Boost funding kicked off on December 1 and we decided that was the way we wanted to go."
Mrs Rutledge said she initially contacted Warwick State High School looking for school leavers who were not looking at heading away to university.
"I got three applicants from the high school and a further 10 from a Facebook post.
"Overall, the 13 applicants were all of a very high standard.
"Jhina stood out, was able to start right away and was eligible for the funding."
One of the stipulations of the funding means eligibility relies on the prospective youth being unemployed for at least four weeks prior to being offered a position.
This excludes anyone with part-time or casual work.
Mrs Rutledge said business owners may dismiss grants of this nature due to a lack of knowledge or may simply be unaware of the opportunities.
"Businesses may not be aware what is available or who to speak to about it," she said.
"Or perhaps because they think applying will mean too much work.
"But there are plenty of businesses around town who can offer information and assistance with questions, such as Max Employment, Best Employment, Busy at Work, Shannon Aspinall Bookkeeping and Accounting and SDIEA, to name a few.
"And many of these places will have employees who are eligible and ready to go."
Mr Evans said the young unemployed in Warwick should be arming themselves with their resume and the Youth Boost brochure and get out to knock on doors.
"I've been talking to a lot of locals businesses challenging them to reach this goal of 100 jobs by Christmas," he said.
"I've just been arming myself with all of the information and talking to them about the funding that is available.
"I've already had 10 businesses around town show interest or say they're going to jump on board.
"The council are right behind the idea and manager of economic development and tourism Scott Templeman has offered to run some short workshops on how to plan to employ someone."
As for Jhina Sutton, she said she was excited about the opportunities and the work experience she will receive working at Darryl Evans Real Estate.
"It was unexpected, I handed my resume on Thursday and was offered the job on Friday," she said.
"I would encourage all Warwick businesses to look into this funding and give more youth like me a much-needed job."
- $20,000 funding
- Available between Dec 1 and Feb 28, 2017
- For unemployed youth between 15 and 24
- First instalment of $6000 paid after four weeks of continuous employment