Unemployed Youth Given Golden Career Opportunity

Sunday October 12th 2014

Going 4 Gold - James HerridgeYouth facing barriers to permanent employment now have a new pathway to securing work thanks to the launch of a program by McDonald’s Australia and its franchisees, together with The Salvation Army Employment Plus and the Salvos Youth Foundation.

Going 4 Gold, is a four-stage, six month program that recruits suitable candidates between 17and 23 years of age who are facing employment adversity and provides them with 30 hours of part time employment per week at a McDonald’s restaurant as well as employment mentoring and support from Salvos Youth Foundation coaches.

“As Australia’s leading employer of youth, McDonald’s understands the importance of providing both career opportunities and the right training to young people, particularly those who may not otherwise have the opportunity to access careers due to personal circumstances,” said Melissa Roseworne, Director of HR & Training McDonald’s Australia.

“Going 4 Gold is a program that allows us to provide an unmatched opportunity to unlock the career potential of those facing adversity and in partnership with The Salvation Army help them build the skills required for long term career growth,” Roseworne added.

During the pilot phase, the program has already had great success, with 22 candidates in the first phase having successful outcomes so far, while retention of the candidates appointed in May this year is also very promising. Many of the employees had struggled for over two years to find employment prior to being placed by The Salvation Army Employment Plus in their local McDonald’s restaurant.

High youth unemployment areas such as Sydney’s West and the New South Wales Central Coast have seen several candidates excel; and stay in long term jobs at McDonald’s.

“McDonald’s is renowned for the opportunities they provide for young job seekers. We know that the training and skills they provide are excellent and hold people in good stead if they’re ever applying for other jobs. It’s a supportive team-based environment that values respect and accountability,” said John Harris, The Salvation Army Employment Plus Partnership and Liaison Manager.

“Together with a structured referral system through The Salvation Army Employment Plus and ongoing mentoring from The Salvation Army, McDonald’s restaurants are willing to give them a go. It’s not just an opportunity to work; for many of the participants it’s an opportunity to help get their lives together and to date successful graduates have also reported a new level of independence and confidence while also developing teamwork and social skills,” John Harris added.

One such candidate is 18 year old James Herridge who has been working at McDonald’s Mt Druitt for the last few months.

“Before starting Going 4 Gold I was lacking confidence and belief in my abilities. I wanted some career direction but faced challenges in getting that kick start in my career. Working within McDonald’s and receiving ongoing mentoring from The Salvation Army I’ve been able to gain confidence in the workplace and feel I’m now on the path to a long term career,” said James.

As a local community member, Mt Druitt McDonald’s Licensee, Angelo Salamakis, has also seen the benefit of the program in terms of building new relationships and mentoring skills

“The program not only provides training for the Going 4 Gold participant, but ongoing mentoring for both myself and for my staff on how best to train and mentor. This has given me and my team some great additional coaching techniques to implement across my entire business,” said Angelo.

Due to this early success of the pilot, the program is now being further rolled out across McDonald’s restaurants in New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT, with other states to follow in 2015.

“We are extremely proud of the early success of Going 4 Gold, which continues to build on our history of offering so many young Australians their first job and the opportunity to realise the power of their career potential,” said Roseworne.

“We employ more than 95,000 Australians, most of them young people, and invest $40 million per year in education and training. We are committed to increasing the youth workforce employment percentage and we see Going 4 Gold as critical in ensuring youth facing adversity and challenges are provided a supportive platform to get the required training and opportunities to set themselves up for future success,” Roseworne said.

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