Kirsty Biswas is making a splash in her new job, overcoming long term unemployment through a program that’s helped more than 160 young people like her in the Melbourne suburb of Frankston and adjacent Mornington Peninsula since it started a year ago.
Kirsty, 22, loves her job as a membership sales consultant at Peninsula Aquatic Recreation Centre in Frankston, and says her life is back on track.
‘I feel like a weight has been lifted off my chest. Now I can function and feel normal, and have a life for myself and my son, and hopefully his father too,’ she said.
Kirsty struggled to get back into the workforce after becoming a mother early last year. She had been working full time at a gym when she went on maternity leave. But when her son Kayden was around five months old and she was ready to return to work, her job had been filled, and she was offered only a handful of hours each week. Things went downhill fast, as she separated from Kayden’s father too, in large part due to the pressures of overcrowded housing.
When Kirsty sought help from a local housing service she was referred to the Creating Futures for Youth program, run by the Brotherhood of St Laurence at our High St Centre in Frankston, with funding from the Citi Foundation, the philanthropic arm of global bank, Citi.
Citi Australia's head of corporate affairs, Guy Matthews said the foundation is delighted that 167 young people have benefited in the program’s first year.
‘Creating Futures for Youth has demonstrated it is making a real difference by providing support for young people to become job ready. Job ready skills are essential in securing sustainable employment,’ Mr Matthews said.
‘With the support of the Citi Foundation, Citi Australia is focused on programs that increase the employability of young people by giving them the tools and skills to enable them to get a job. We look for partners that share our focus and passion, and programs that are sustainable and scalable, and we are proud to partner with the Brotherhood of St Laurence’.
Brotherhood Senior Manager, Transition to Work Nick Orchard said more than 85 businesses have been involved, and have found the participant-focused approach of Creating Futures refreshing.
‘They’re excited by the vision of the program, and the ability to get involved. As well as providing employment opportunities, businesses have been hungry to facilitate hands on learning sessions and work experience placements to help young people gain invaluable experience in their industry.’Peninsula Aquatic Recreation Centre, Manager Simon Beqir said he would strongly recommend other local employers get on board.
‘The Brotherhood has been incredibly supportive and helpful with suggesting suitable candidates for PARC and we’re delighted with Kirsty’s progress in our team,’ he said. ‘After meeting Kirsty it was clear she was a great match for this role. Her passion for the fitness industry is infectious!’