Macleay Options and Stock Camp founder Gavan Landini, are embarking on a new initiative in Kempsey to improve life choices of youth in the community.
Macleay Options has partnered with Kempsey high schools, FACS, PCYC, Kempsey Vocational College, Kempsey Men's Shed, Kempsey Place Plan and council to provide a program for youth to become socially ready for employment.
The program is based around agriculture, cattle work, horse skills and trades such as welding and building.
"The aim is to take them away from the influences of drugs and bad decisions and teach them skills that will prepare them for employment," Stock Camp founder Gavan Landini said.
"The students will stay in the program until they find employment or decide to continue with further education."
Real Futures has also partnered with the program and will help the students find employment while they're involved in Stock Camp.
The end goal is having participants achieving long term employment by being technically and socially ready to engage in the work force or go onto further educationGavan Landini
Mr Landini has also opened his own property at Kundabung for the program.
"It was hard to find another property to use, I decided to use mine because I have the space and the resources to make it work," he said.
The goal of the program is to enable the participants to increase their confidence and self-awareness through working with livestock.
"We also want to introduce trade skills with carpentry, mechanics and metal fabrication as well as the arts and horticulture," Mr Landini said.
Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey has welcomed the news and yesterday, along with the NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Sarah Mitchell, gave Macleay Options a $20,000 grant to get the program up and running.
“When I invited Minister Mitchell here, I explained the vital role Macleay Options plays in our community; we see the work it does and I’m sure the new Stock Camp program will be as successful,” Ms Pavey said.
Ms Mitchell agreed and said the program will be beneficial to the youth of Kempsey.
“This will help create more job opportunities and translatable skills. This is good for participants but also for the local community in and around Kempsey," she said.
“The program is set on a rural property to be conducive to learning these specific skills, and will also focus on improving literacy, numeracy and confidence."
Two Kempsey High School students, who will be involved in the program when it starts in a few weeks time, also visited the property yesterday.
Michael and Kane said they're both looking forward to being involved in Stock Camp.
"It will provide more opportunities for us as young people," Michael said.
"It's a lot better than getting in trouble in town," Kane added.
Mr Landini said the program will start with phase one, but he is looking to expand Stock Camp to provide more opportunities for local youth.
"The end goal is having participants achieving long term employment by being technically and socially ready to engage in the work force or go onto further education,” Mr Landini said.
"The long term goal is to buy a property specifically for the Stock Camp and expand the program."
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