Community News

Amber Morris

Amber finds a purpose in full time employment

At 25 years of age Clarence Valley resident Amber Morris had been unemployed for 6 months and had disengaged from local employment services and the job market. That was before she entered the Smart, Skilled and Hired Youth Employment program. Now Amber is employed full time as an Aboriginal Youth Worker and Advocate at the New School of Arts and Neighbourhood House.

Q. How did you hear about Smart, Skilled and Hired?

A. I heard about this program through a friend from TAFE after she contacted me when I was out of work.

Q. How long were you unemployed prior to joining the Smart, Skilled & Hired Program?

A. I had been unemployed for around 5/6 months before I had obtained any type of employment (which is now fulltime employment!).

Q. How did your Smart, Skilled & Hired Youth Coach help you with finding work?

A. My Youth Coach always made contact when jobs had come up that he knew I would be interested in. He called on a regular basis to speak about café work I had managed to score for a very short time. He verbally supported me well through the transition back to work too.

Q. How are you finding employment?

A. Employment on a full time basis is fantastic and very routine for someone like me, so it has many benefits, before the pay. It has completely boosted my confidence and expanded my knowledge in the Community Services sector. I’m very happy with where I am now in my career.

Q. Do you think the program is beneficial to other young people in the Clarence Valley region?

A. Definitely! I even call my Youth Coach to see if any referrals I receive fit within the program eligibility. I feel it’s a great and supported way to enter into employment and it’s done in a soft but effective way.

Q. What was your favourite aspect of the Smart, Skilled and Hired program?

A. The support and the encouragement within the program. This program also broke down a massive stigma for myself around employment services, as I have had very bad experiences in the past. But luckily only had good things to think after being a part of this program. I have no issue with referring any of my delicate Youth clients to this program when transitioning into the workforce.

Q. What was your favourite aspect of working with your Smart, Skilled & Hired Youth Coach?

A. Having David from CHESS Connect as my Youth Coach was great. He has always given a soft approach in his way of working and has been very understanding to circumstances and to a person’s needs.

The Smart, Skilled and Hired Youth Employment Program is a targeted initiative that aims to lift youth long term employment prospects. It is a voluntary program for young people aged 15-24. Young people aged 15-24 years are among those who experience higher than average levels of workforce disengagement such as underemployed or not in the labour force.

Local Human Services organisation CHESS Connect delivers the program throughout the Clarence Valley in partnership with our Network Partner CoAct Employment and the NSW Department of Industry.

To find out more about the Smart, Skilled & Hired Youth Employment Program visit: