A VISIT from the Minister for Regional Development, Mary-Anne Thomas, recently has reinforced the State Government’s commitment to a local program helping people who face barriers finding work in the community.
The Shepparton Growing Regional Opportunities for Work (GROW) program is one of five GROW initiatives across the state to benefit from an additional $3M announced in the Victorian Budget 2021/22. Since beginning in Shepparton in 2018, GROW has supported more than 250 people to find work.
Many would remember the peak of the pandemic in the region, when 20,000 residents were placed in snap isolation, affecting key goods and services. At that time, GROW was able to assist two Shepparton Woolworths stores find staff urgently.
During her visit, Minister Thomas visited Billabong Garden Complex, where GROW has worked with operators, ConnectGV, to support locals with a disability to learn new skills working in a propagation nursery.
GROW offers life-changing opportunities in the workforce for job seekers, from migrant and refugee groups, people living with a disability and those stood down from work. GROW has been instrumental in supporting workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic, helping to redeploy workers into local businesses like Unilever, Bega and Tatura Milk Industries.
Member for Northern Victoria, Mark Gepp said, “This funding ensures GROW can continue its important work in tackling disadvantage and addressing barriers to employment by creating more jobs and boosting our regional economies.”
“We are supporting people of all-abilities and those from cultural and linguistically diverse backgrounds to find employment – the GROW program is a terrific initiative helping more people find jobs and support local businesses,” said Minister Thomas.