COVID downtime leads to skills boost

March 25, 2021 BY

Members of the Geelong crew employed in partnership with CCMA and Working for Victoria. Photo: SUPPLIED

CORANGAMITE Catchment Management Authority has partnered with Conservation Volunteers Australia in creating a dozen local jobs.

Under the Working for Victoria Initiative, 12 Geelong residents were enlisted with the role of protecting threatened species, biodiversity, river health, Rasmar wetlands and coastal environments.

Covering regions across Geelong, Bellarine, Surf Coast and the Otways, the employees also assisted with the environmental values of the Barwon River.

A total of $48,000 was spent on up-skilling employees with tickets and licenses including white card, chainsaw, chemical operations, traffic management, defensive drive and first aid certificates.

CCMA CEO John Riddiford said the employment opportunity came as a response to the income loss suffered by many during the pandemic.

“We are proud of our partnership with CVA and delighted with the achievements made by all Working for Victoria Crew members,” he said.

“Most particularly, we are proud to have been able to provide the opportunity for people who lost their incomes and livelihood to be actively employed in a period of crisis.”

Over half of the work was completed in partnership with Landcare networks, with the crews playing a vital role filling the COVID-induced gaps in environmental operations otherwise completed by community volunteers.

Five crew members have since gained ongoing employment within the environmental sector including Parks Victoria, Conservation Volunteers Australia, Corangamite CMA and Gully Tree Fernery.

“This initiative has resulted in not only some incredible employment outcomes but also some incredible environmental and agricultural outcomes for our local community,” Mr Riddiford said.

“The work done will support future conservation works and our community leaving a lasting legacy in the region.”

CVA director of environmental works, Simon Schwartz, said the partnership with CCMA has provided a career pathway for the 12 crew members.

“We are thrilled to have been able to partner with the CCMA to provide people with their entry into the industry, significantly upskilled and ready for jobs,” Mr Schwartz said.

“One of the most important things to come out of this partnership was the ability to provide training to all crew members so that they were equipped to find employment in the environmental sector.”

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