By Oliver Lees
Hume council has committed $1 million to help employ and train eligible job-seeking residents, as the municipality’s unemployment rate remains well above the state average.
The funding towards the Hume business employment grants program was confirmed at a meeting held on Monday and forms part of the council’s COVID-19 Recovery and Reactivation Plan.
The $1 million program will be resourced from within the council’s existing budget, providing at least 100 grants employment outcomes.
According to data from the National Skills Commission from June this year, Hume (12.1 per cent) had the highest rate of unemployment of any local government area in the north west of Victoria.
Hume’s jobless figure is more than two-times that of the state average at 4.1 per cent.
Since March 2020, when Victoria entered its first COVID-19 lockdown, Hume’s unemployment has grown from 8.7 per cent to 12.1 per cent.
Cr Naim Kurt said the municipality’s unemployment woes had been exacerbated by the pandemic.
“Hume has done it harder than any other community in Melbourne when it comes to COVID because of insecure working conditions, because of the closure of the airport, because of job conditions where people aren’t able to space out properly,” Cr Kurt said.
“So, our councillors had to step up to the plate to address this inequality.
“It will put local people into local jobs, and will make a massive difference to job seekers in our community by providing not just meaningful employment, but opening the door to careers as well.
“I think we should be really proud of the work we’ve undertaken in this area as a council to support those at a local level and ensure that business owners are able to continue pursuing their passion.”
The grants scheme will be split up into three streams: trainees and apprentices; a Hume internship, cadetship and training program; and a disadvantaged job seeker program.
Applications for the grants program open on November 5.