Northern Futures began as an initiative that emerged from a 2007 jobs summit convened to look at ways to address significant job losses in the northern suburbs of Geelong due to large manufacturers leaving the area.
From its inception Northern Futures has worked in collaboration with an advisory committee comprising leaders of government, education, industry and community organisations. Our model began to take shape as effective partnerships resulted in life changing opportunities for people seeking work with significant barriers to employment.
Today, Northern Futures’ commitment to the community we serve sees us adapting to the everchanging employment environment and taking hold of new opportunities, while retaining the model that successfully underpins our work.
Economic decline in the north
The closure of major manufacturing plants over a 25-year period including International Harvester, Ford Motor Company and the Federal Woollen Mills, resulted in the loss of over 6,000 jobs from Geelong’s north, a volume of job losses far too great for the region to absorb. Today Geelong has moved from traditional manufacturing to health, education and research, advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, and construction. And while much of Geelong enjoys prosperity, for many in Corio and Norlane, long term unemployment has morphed into generational unemployment and social disadvantage.
The northern suburbs of Geelong has higher than average unemployment rates, lower education levels and greater dependency on welfare support compared to the rest of Geelong and the State. Many of the individuals that come to Northern Futures seeking assistance lack resources and are weighed down by disappointments associated with long-term unemployment.
Northern Futures is working to collapse the barriers and create pathways into employment for individuals who are disengaged from education and work, and who would be unlikely to secure employment and fit into the workplace without extra support. In partnership with the Gordon TAFE and Cloverdale Community Centre, we deliver programs to lift the capacity of clients, build skills and prepare them for employment.
Individual mentoring is at the core of our programs; it’s at the heart of what we do. All clients receive the committed and skillful guidance of our work and learning advisors throughout their training and into work. This valuable resource is the key to the change we see in our clients lives as belief in themselves grows and the scope of what’s possible expands.
A collaborative movement
Northern Futures works in collaboration with local employers who inform the content of our courses and open their doors to offer meaningful employment opportunities to our clients. It’s at this point our clients begin to experience being valued members of the local workforce, and the stability that financial security can bring to their lives.
Our understanding of how to value and appropriately support individuals with complex barriers to employment is inspired by Ruby Payne’s ‘Bridges out of Poverty’ framework. This framework informs how we work, how we mentor our clients, and underpins the personal development that is woven into our programs.