25 March 2021 

The region’s peak business advocacy organisation, Business Illawarra, has today joined with local disability service provider the CRAM Foundation to congratulate the newest ‘graduates’ of the IllawarraYES program, who will take up exciting and rewarding careers in disability services.

“We are incredibly proud to partner with the NSW Government and fantastic members like the CRAM Foundation to deliver the Illawarra YES program and, in doing so, address workforce shortages and provide diverse and promising opportunities for young, local job seekers,” said the Executive Director of Business Illawarra, Mr Adam Zarth.

Funded by the NSW Government and delivered by Business Illawarra, IllawarraYES aims to connect young people with the right skills and qualifications needed to secure jobs within key industries across the region.

“We started working with Business Illawarra on a YES program late in 2019, when we were experiencing significant growth in demand and a shortage of available staff in the disability sector,” said Chief Executive Officer of the CRAM Foundation, Ms Karen Burdett.

“Working with the YES coordinator and Wesley Vocational Institute, we were able to give a number of local young people a seven-week experience of what a fantastic career path this can be, and in doing so, developed a pool of work-ready young people to help us meet growing demand in the disability field,” said Ms Burdett.

Illawarra YES employment programs utilise a jobs brokerage model, with each program being developed in collaboration with businesses and Registered Training Organisations across a diverse range of industry sectors.

Entry level skills are identified by employers and delivered as part of a program that includes skills training, work experience and employability skills directly aligned with real job opportunities.

“The work-readiness program I developed with CRAM and Wesley Vocational Institute included formal training incorporating five units from the Certificate III Individual Support, work placement throughout CRAM’s group homes in the Illawarra, together with the mentoring and support they needed for success,” said IllawarraYES Coordinator Mr Glenn Fairweather.

“We now have graduates of the program being offered jobs in the disability sector, which is a terrific outcome. With us today are Rhys Power and Flora Vassilakoglou, who completed their traineeship in under a year which was a fantastic effort by Rhys and Flora as well as by CRAM and Wesley,” said Mr Fairweather.