Central Coast Council’s apprentice and undergraduate programs for 2021 have been put on hold as a result of its financial crisis and $89M deficit.
As part of its Business Recovery Plan, Council is undertaking a workforce review and although Council says that no other workforce redundancies have yet taken place, apprentice and undergraduate candidates have been notified that there will be no places for them next year.
A Council spokesperson said that “Council will continue to support our current youth employment programs to complete their studies or courses, but any continuation in the workforce is based on need and is subject to merit-based recruitment.”
Council’s apprenticeships and traineeships cover a variety of study areas including electrical, mechanical, carpentry and painting, childcare, horticulture, civil construction, warehousing, water treatment, surveying, metal fabrication, boiler making and fitting.
Council has investigated the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements federal funding for 26 future trainees and apprentices, however, our priority is maintaining our existing 36 trainees and apprentices and 20 undergraduates.
Suspended Budgewoi Ward councillor, Jillian Hogan, said young people were one of the first to be impacted as the recruitment of apprentices and trainees ceased in a bid to address the crippling deficit.
“Among the many casualties from Council’s financial crisis, why are young people, our future leaders, being penalised?” she said.
“Council made a commitment to lead the way as champions to develop a workforce strategy that better reflects the diversity and demographics of the Central Coast.
“Since November 2019, apprentices and trainees were directly employed by Council, giving young people a pathway to employment within Council.
“This has not occurred for many years, with recruitment being out-sourced and contracted out.
“The need for employment and resources has become even more critical than ever and I believe that Council, being the largest employer in the region, has a social and economic responsibility to our young people who need a start in life.
“We cannot under estimate the value of employment for our young people and for the Coast’s future.
“We cannot stop the recruitment of our future workforce.
“Ceasing new recruitments is backward thinking, we need to think forward, and shift our thinking and harness the young minds of so many bright young people and give them the opportunity to succeed through gainful employment,” Hogan said.