Welcome to Awkward Conversations – an IMPACT Community Services' initiative where we explore some of the challenging questions happening in homes across the Bundaberg, Burnett and Discovery Coast regions.

Today we start with an issue that affects so many of us and that’s job opportunities for our youth and the perception big cities, like Brisbane, have more to offer.

We’ve sought advice from specialist IMPACT staff in the areas of employment, youth employment and parenting, to formulate the following hypothetical conversation.

Youth: “Hey Dad, I haven’t been able to find work here in Bundaberg. What do you think about me moving to Brisbane to look for a job?”

Parent: “Well, there are pros and cons to making this kind of move so let’s look at it from both angles.  Brisbane has a lot to offer; it has plenty of activities to do and places to see.  It’s a big city and there appear more job opportunities, depending on what you want to do. Have you worked out what sort of work would interest you?

Youth: “Yeah, I've thought about a lot of jobs.  I’m keen to do something outdoors or maybe working with people. There seems to be more opportunities down in Brisbane, but it’s so far from you and all my friends.”

Parent: “It can be scary for a young person to handle living away from their family and support networks.  While Brisbane might seem a long way away, it’s close enough to come back and visit on the occasional weekend.  I would come down regularly and I’m sure your friends would as well.  And we can always talk on the phone or through FaceTime. Have you thought about where you would live?”

If you’re aged 15 to 24 and need extra support on your journey to employment, IMPACT Community Services can help you find an apprenticeship, work experience, work placements, traineeships and job opportunities in Bundaberg through our Transition to Work program.  Call 0429 232 653 or click here for more information.

Youth: “Not really.  I’ve got a couple of old school friends and they live in the same house.  They said I could stay with them for a short time, maybe a few weeks.”

Parent: “That’s good.  But you need to be aware that Brisbane can be an expensive place to live. Rent is higher and you'll have added transport costs and car parking is also another thing to consider.  It might be a good idea if you're moving to try and find a job there first, so you'll have a steady income while you set yourself up.  It does cost a lot when you’re starting from scratch.  Have you got any savings put aside?”

Youth: “A couple of hundred dollars, so not that much. To be honest, I’d rather stay here, but what are my options?”

Parent: “Well, there are jobs in Bundaberg.  There are opportunities with the council as well as in the agriculture, retail and hospitality industries.   Bundaberg has also got a bit of a hidden job network and many positions are found through word-of-mouth referrals.  Sometimes it takes resilience and patience and the motivation to go out and apply yourself face-to-face.  You need to demonstrate that you're a driven person wanting to work. Always follow up on job applications to check progress and seek feedback on what you can do better in your next application or interview.  Bundaberg has also got some excellent training and educational facilities. CQUniversity has a good reputation for higher level study. There’s a local TAFE and IMPACT Community Services has its own training programs.  These would allow you to study to get a qualification that would give you a much better chance of finding work either here in Bundaberg or in Brisbane if you decide you still want to move.”

Youth: “So, if you were me, what would you do Dad?”

IMPACT's Get Set For Work program offers an individualised service to eligible people aged 15 to 19 years. It aims to assist with participation in quality training and improvement of employment prospects. Support includes one-on-one assistance and group activities that contribute to skill development and goal setting.  Call 0436 600 461 or click here for more information.

Parent: “Consider a part time job in Bundaberg to gain some experience and earn so you can save some money. Then look at the study options available.  I know there are some great courses for outdoor work or others where you can get the skills to support people who need it.  That way if you decide to move you will give yourself every chance to succeed, whichever way you go.”

Youth: “Thanks Dad, I’ll let you know what I decide.”

Did you know IMPACT Community Services’ Registered Training Organisation runs regular Certificate III courses in hospitality as well as disability, home care and community support?  ‘No cost to you’ funding is available for eligible persons.  Call 4153 4233, email [email protected] or click here for more information.

Make sure you keep an eye out as we explore more important topics in coming weeks.  Our responses are purely hypothetical; each person's case will be different and what might be the right decision for one person may not be for another.

We’d love to hear from you if you’ve got a question you would like us to delve into.  Simply share a comment on our Facebook page, or if it’s something you would prefer to keep confidential, email [email protected] (we will not share anyone’s details without prior permission).