Thumbs up for Green Corps
LISMORE'S National Green Jobs Corps project has proved itself as a pathway to employment for local young people.
The six-month course has taught a group of people aged 17-24 how to protect and maintain native plant species in the area.
Yesterday they were awarded a Certificate 2 in Conservation and Land Management at a ceremony in Riverside Park.
National Green Jobs co-ordinator Peter Brown said the North Coast program had been an overwhelming success.
"By the end of the program, six projects we run concurrently from Tweed Heads to Coffs Harbour will have a completion rate of 70%," he said.
"Nationally that rate is 15%. We've already got five employment outcomes from this group and one guy's also doing further study."
Lismore project participant Zac Grott said it had given him a working future.
"There was nothing to do here in Lismore.
"I was 20 resumes down and still nothing," he said.
After completing the course he was offered a job with local environmental management and employment organisation EnviTE.
Mr Grott and Mr Brown both attributed the Lismore project's success to team supervisor Garth Kindred.
"Some of these kids were quite troubled," Mr Brown said.
"Some had no mentor before and no nurturing. Garth has been like a pseudo father to them."
Over the past six years, National Green Jobs Corps programs have provided Lismore with 16,000 hours of labour - the equivalent of $500,000.
When the last North Coast program ends in coming months, Federal Government funding will run out and National Green Jobs Corp programs will be no more.
"It is a great shame it's ending," Mr Kindred said.
"Around Lismore there's so much work to do and it's be- yond the ability of the council to maintain."
Lismore deputy mayor Isaac Smith attended yesterday's ceremony and said he was encouraged by the outcomes of the project.
"I would love to see it continue in the future," Cr Smith said.