North West Telegraph Wednesday September 9 2015

Unemployed Hedland residents are stepping straight into fulltime jobs, thanks to a new partnership organised by non-profit group Bloodwood Tree Association.

Fourteen residents are set to take on full-time roles with recruitment agency WorkPac and at a workers camp serviced by Morris Corporation, once they finish a three-week, workready course, run through the Matera Foundation.

Participant Rupert Dickerson said he signed up for the course not only for the full-time work at the end, but because it focused on creating good habits.

He said course participants learnt about nutrition and went to the gym each day, a habit that had put a spring into his step.

“Getting to know your body and how much calories should go into it and how much exercise you should do, that is really interesting,” he said.

“Besides doing exercise as part of the course, I’m now doing it in my own time as well. “(We are challenged to do) 10,000 steps a day, but I am now doing 20,000.

“While the kids are playing at the park I’m busy walking — you get a lot of energy out of it.”

With 1000 people unemployed in the Hedland region, Bloodwood Tree chief executive Kylee Hodder said the course aimed to give participants the tools to take on long-term employment. “(Which is) why we’ve put a focus on the health, well-being and motivation,” she said.

She said the course also involved medical check-ups and mentoring workshops.

The Ashburton Aboriginal Corporation and Town of Port Hedland which covered the gym costs, were also partners in the program Ms Hodder said.

Bloodwood Tree now hopes to work with partners and Pilbara businesses to continue to run the course at regular intervals, alongside guaranteed employment opportunities such as traineeships and apprenticeships.

“We would like to continue to have local job opportunities for local people,” she said.

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