FAIRFAX Media has hired seven new apprentices for its printing plant at Wendouree – and all from the Ballarat area.
Site manager Matt Hancock said it was a priority to hire local young people at the site.
“We live here. Why not look after the people you live with?” he said. “Youth unemployment was very much our focus. It’s shocking in Ballarat.”
Five men and one woman aged between 18 and 22 have been working at the plant since April, and a sixth man came on board a few weeks ago.
Mr Hancock said he decided to hire young apprentices because it would be beneficial for everyone.
“They get some great training and we get reliable, enthusiastic employees.”
They are in different roles across the site including printing, pre-press and engineering, and will earn a Certificate III during the apprenticeship.
The hiring was done with the help of government and industry-funded initiative Futureprint and Spectra Training.
“There is always going to be a market for these skills,” said Futureprint’s David Galbraith, adding that although printing was not a popular industry, it offered plenty of employment opportunities in metropolitan and regional areas.
Spectra chief executive officer Tony Lander said getting youth into employment was tricky on both sides, but recommended young people try to gain as much experience as possible.
“A lot of businesses aren’t even aware of the opportunities open to them if they take apprentices or don’t have time to advertise, so give them a call or write a letter,” he said.
The Wendouree site has hired more than 50 extra people in the past 18 months, as Fairfax Media closed its Tullamarine facility and relocated printing of The Age and Australian Financial Review.