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Strengthening communities through career development

Strengthening communities through career development

Published: 31st May 2012

Blog post by: Helen Strickland on behalf of RDA Limestone Coast

Helen Strickland is the Manager of Skills, Career and Workforce Development at RDA Limestone Coast and was the instigator of the Career Development Centre pilot project.

Helen Strickland, Manager RDALC Skills, Career and Workforce Development with (L-R) Grant King RDALC Executive Officer, Richard Scollin of the Department of Further Education, Employment, Science & Technology and Steve Perryman, Mayor City of Mount Gambier.

For in excess of six years Regional Development Australia (RDA) Limestone Coast has been providing career development services and information to Limestone Coast residents of any age and at any stage of their career through our Career Development Centre (CDC) based in Mount Gambier. 

Starting as a pilot project in 2006, the Centre was established as a community-based model that has since been replicated across regional South Australia and recognised nationally as a model for best practice. It is an exceptional example of the RDA and regional stakeholders working cooperatively, with a host of organisations providing in-kind support to the project.

The Limestone Coast Region has a population of around 65,000 people, with the City of Mount Gambier and neighbouring District Council of Grant hosting approximately 40 per cent of the population.  We have purposely housed the CDC shop front in a retail area of Mount Gambier, close to a shopping mall and supermarket.

Since its inception approximately 64 per cent of participants have found employment as a result of the support they received to manage their career.  Others have taken part in training or apprenticeships or carry out volunteer work.  Participants range from 16 to 65 years of age and come from across the entire region.

The service has been of value for retrenched workers, people returning to work, migrants new to the region, people seeking a career change and young people making the transition from school.   It is interesting to note that the mature age bracket (40+ years) has over the years represented 43 per cent of participants, with the 25 to 39 age bracket making up 27 per cent. 

Much of the success of the CDC can be attributed to the excellent team of career practitioners and support staff; strategic linkages with local government, Job Services Australia providers and a range of other organisations; and deliberate fostering and lobbying of key individuals in State Government agencies. 

Whilst the RDA has provided project management and in-kind support, this project would not have been possible without base funding from the South Australian Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology through its South Australia Works Working Regions Program.

We welcome enquires from anyone interested in further details about this project.  Initially you can access information at www.cdc.org.au or email the office.