News Article

GROW Gippsland - a Collaborative Programme

   Thursday 16th May, 2019

GROW Gippsland is a collaborative program with business, government, community organisations and individuals working together to build a stronger local economy.

Food & Fibre Gippsland is part of the Grow Gippsland Compact and we are committed to adding value to the Gippsland region.

We are doing this via a number of actions including:

  • actively identifying and seeking employment opportunities for disadvantaged job seekers such as youth indigenous and the the long term unemployed as well as people with a disability
  • identifying social enterprise opportunities

As a not for profit cluster, Food & Fibre Gippsland does not undertake any major works projects, however many of our members do, and we are confident that through our connection and networking with this diverse member base, that we will be able to identify new employment scopes, and social procurement opportunities.

For example, if your business is tendering for significant works to be performed on your business, like building a new factory and creating new infrastructure like dams or irrigation systems, there may be an opportunity to include a clause that requires employment opportunities for a set number of disadvantaged job seekers.

If this was to be fulfilled, the process of employing people from the disadvantaged cohort could be monitored by GRAEP.

The important elements to consider in this process are:

  1. The opportunity to give someone who is long term employed a chance – even if it is only a three month contract, that work experience and social connection is invaluable, and in many cases betters their chances of securing other employment opportunities.

  2. The social benefit you are able to give back to the community as a whole. Breaking the cycle of long term unemployment, as well as giving the youth and indigenous sectors of your part of Gippsland the chance to gain on the job experience, has multiple positive flow on effects.

A GROW project that is already in advanced stages of planning is a community garden for Bairnsdale, where youth unemployment currently sits at 21.7% which is 10% higher than the current Victorian average of 10.7%.

In collaboration with strategic partner, GELLEN, our employment program GRAEP has commenced negotiations to develop a community garden model that has the potential to provide pre-employment and horticulture training.

This community garden would offer our GRAEP participants a pathway to employment through an active hands-on involvement in the creation of the garden and then ongoing attention required to keep the garden producing.

The social enterprise element of this project will be delivered via the garden possibly being able to supply local cafes and restaurants, or the produce being cycled through a community kitchen to help feed those who are homeless or are experiencing hardship.

If you would like more information about GROW Gippsland, and how you can get involved, our GRAEP Program Manager Julie Tuhi would love to hear from you – you can reach her on email - or phone 0448 880 824 during business hours.

Community Gardens can serve many purposes - such as helping the long term unemployed gain valuable social interaction and practical skills