Jobs next on program menu
NORTEC has teamed up with the Lismore Workers Golf Club to provide struggling jobseekers with hospitality skills - and possibly a job.
The employment agency said the new program, which placed 12 trainees in the club's new Uno @ Barham restaurant, has been so successful they're considering expanding it.
The students will work in the Mediterranean restaurant for 15 hours a week until December while continuing to study.
"NORTEC and the club developed this restaurant to re-open it for this purpose," NORTEC's Simon Crether said, six weeks into the program.
"It's to give these guys a Certificate II in Hospitality and then from there, they'll gain employment from it.
"The feedback from the people through the restaurant and the students has been very good."
Michelle Dowding, also of NORTEC, said upskilling jobseekers would allow easier employment and integration in new workplaces.
"You've got to remember, a lot of these guys are long-term unemployed so this was a great way to break down some of the barriers for them," she said.
"We've got plenty of jobseekers we can send to positions but it's important when they hit the ground they know what they're doing."
Morgan Williams, who is one of the 12 jobseekers, was out of work for nine months before beginning the program.
"It's just early days yet. I'm still learning lots of new skills but I'm enjoying it," the 41-year-old said.
"Everyone here has been very friendly and supportive."
Mr Williams said after working as a painter and handyman, the break from work made him feel withdrawn and "slightly depressed".
After returning to the workplace he is feeling more positive and anticipates a bright future.
Lismore Workers Golf Club spokesman Dominic D'Agostino said he was pleased with the program and said many of the students had been praised by impressed customers.
Mr D'Agostino said the club often had to turn away unskilled jobseekers and said the program addresses a need in the community.