27 October 2023

Community maintenance team appointed to protect Hope Vale against bushfires and cyclones

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Group photo featuring My Pathways staff, Hope Vale CDP participants and Hope Vale Mayor Jason Woibo.

The Hope Vale community maintenance team is ready to protect. Left to right: Josie Flores, Farren Cobus, Eric Woibo, Genis Cobus, Jason Woibo, Royston Darkan, Joseph Lakefield, Christopher Bally, Travis Bally, Stevie Wilson.

A new community maintenance team has been appointed in Hope Vale following seven weeks of work experience as part of the Cook Region Community Development Program (CDP). The eight-person team is clearing yards and maintaining gardens for residents to improve cyclone and bushfire safety and pride in community appearance.

The CDP is a joint partnership between My Pathway and local Indigenous providers to deliver a paid work experience program. It aims to create new employment in the region by supporting participants to undertake seven or 13 weeks of work experience and training.

“Our paid work experience program supports participants to enhance job readiness, build skills and achieve qualifications, all while earning an income,” My Pathway regional manager Josie Flores said.

She explained the program also allowed employers to trial workers and assess the value of possible future roles.

“Employers who can provide safe work opportunities benefit from the additional labour, the chance to trial potential employees and test the viability of new roles.”

The recent work experience program was hosted by Hope Vale Foundation, which has since created eight new roles in community maintenance and construction projects. The new employees are currently clearing yards for up to five residences a day and will progress to cemetery refurbishments and other infrastructure updates.

Community maintenance employee Travis Bally said that respect and mateship had underpinned his experience.

“We’ve been able to go through this experience together. We’re all good mates and we work as a team,” he said.

“This work allows me to give back to the community and help out people who don’t have access to lawnmowers or tools. It’s about making things safer and tidier and showing respect for our community.”

Having done labouring work previously, the experience has motivated him to continue improving his community, pass on his knowledge and perhaps even start his own business in the future.

“Now that I have this job, I keep thinking about how we get more equipment and more training for our young people. I’ve been talking to the boys and saying we need to do quality jobs that people would be happy to pay for. I think I could maybe even make my own little team one day,” he said.

The work experience program is available to employers in the Cook region who can provide work experience for participants. All employment preparation, support, insurance, payroll and training are coordinated through the CDP. Successful participants may be directly employed by their host employer or become preferred candidates for future vacancies.

The joint venture partnership between My Pathway, Hope Vale Foundation, Gungarde Community Centre and Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council delivers the CDP, which is a fully funded initiative by the Australian Government.

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