Job seekers gain from pony club’s kindness

PONY CLUB: Ringo Sparkles, who had recently returned from a Pink Ladies Day fundraiser, Port Augusta Pony Club vice president/caretaker Peter Nadels and job seeker Jason Parkinson.
PONY CLUB: Ringo Sparkles, who had recently returned from a Pink Ladies Day fundraiser, Port Augusta Pony Club vice president/caretaker Peter Nadels and job seeker Jason Parkinson.

PORT Augusta Pony Club is assisting local job seekers become connected to the workforce by hosting Work for the Dole projects.

By participating in Work for the Dole projects, job seekers obtain meaningful work experience, learn on the job skills and make work contacts.

At the pony club, participants are assisting with maintenance on the stables and general gardening duties.

Port Augusta Pony Club president Melenee Ellard said there were benefits for both employers and job seekers in embracing the Work for the Dole program.

"Hosting Work for the Dole participants has helped us to complete a number of projects around the club that we would have previously been unable to get off the ground," Mrs Ellard said.

"We are proud to provide valuable work experience and social inclusion.

"Our participants appreciate the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to their community and they have enjoyed learning about various aspects of animal care."

Organisations taking part in the program are eligible to receive financial support as a contribution towards the cost of supervising an extra volunteer.

Worksil Australia chief executive officer Nicole Dwyer said it was time to debunk the myths that had unfairly tarnished and dragged down unemployed people in the past.

"For some people in Port Augusta, maintaining the motivation to just get out of bed in the morning can be an enormous challenge," Ms Dwyer said.

"Confidence and personal feelings of self-worth can take a battering when you're struggling to find a job.

"It can become a vicious cycle, making it even more difficult to enter the workforce."

Ms Dwyer also said the vast majority are passionate and ambitious about finding employment and keen to break the unemployment cycle and get hands-on experience while developing core skills to make them work ready.

What is Work for the Dole?

Work for the Dole is part of the federal government’s jobactive employment service.

It is a work experience programme designed to help job seekers gain new skills while they look for work.

Activities can only be hosted by not-for-profit organisations and local, state, territory and Australian government agencies.

The programme gives organisations an extra set of hands to help to undertake activities that would not normally be done.