A job seeker with The Salvation Army Employment Plus has been the successful applicant of Port Stephens Council’s new Aboriginal trainee initiative, in what is a win for both the community and the environment.
With Port Stephens renowned for its natural beauty, diverse social and environmental characteristics, the Aboriginal Trainee Environmental Health Officer role was created to help sustain the environmental health of the local community.
Local Aboriginal job seeker and father of three young children, Robert Richards, had been unemployed for 96 weeks when he came to Employment Plus seeking job assistance.
Assisted by Wahroonga Aboriginal Corporation, the Employment Plus team at Raymond Terrace worked with Robert to help him overcome his obstacles to employment, identify opportunities and equip him for both the interview and the role ahead.
Robert was one of over 100 candidates who applied for the role and was selected in a group of 12 for the first interview round. After an intensive interview process supported by the team at Employment Plus, Robert secured the traineeship.
“The field was very competitive, but Robert really stood out in the way that he approached the group and individual interviews. He communicated a genuine motivation for wanting to make a difference and we were delighted to award the position to him,” explained Marc Goodall Environmental Health and Compliance Coordinator at Port Stephens Council.
“The team at Employment Plus were also fantastic to deal with. They displayed authenticity, friendliness and cultural sensitivity at all times. I’d have no hesitation in asking them for recruitment assistance in the future.”
The initiative is funded as part of NSW Health’s Aboriginal Environmental Health Officer Training Program, developed to train and provide study support for Aboriginal people across NSW to become Environmental Health Officers.
As part of the role, Robert will complete a Bachelor of Natural Science (Environment & Health) at the University of Western Sydney. He will also gain practical Environmental Health officer skills through placement in Port Stephens Council, Hunter New England Public Health Unit and NSW Minister of Health programs, addressing and managing various environmental health issues.
“Thanks to the initiative, Robert will take a leading role in driving and ensuring the success of a number of public health projects and will develop into a fully qualified Environmental Health officer,” said Kylie Gayford, Senior Job Coach at Employment Plus.
“We are so very proud of what Robert has been able to achieve for his own career, for his family and for the community, and commend all involved on the initiative.”