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Jobs-for-youth initiative receives $2.65m

The Victorian State Government has set aside $2.65 million in funding for a social enterprise providing disadvantaged youth with training, qualifications and work experience.

Whitelion, a registered charity, will receive the funding as part of the Andrews Government’s Jobs Victoria Employment Network (JVEN) and is expected to place 240 at risk young people into work.

Operating through its social enterprise Online PAWS (picking and warehouse solutions), the company already has 18 participants in its program and has identified a further 60 potential workers between 16-25.

Online PAWS wholesale and retail a variety of consumer goods, from clothing to electronics. Participants are employed and receive training in warehouse operations and build skills working in a team based environment.

The Dandenong South operation is part of a wider push by the Andrews Government to help more than 4,000 disadvantaged Victorian job seekers find work and coincides with an additional $5 million funding announcement for social enterprise more broadly in the state.

“Victoria’s landmark social enterprise strategy will ensure more people get access to a job – regardless of their background,” said Wade Noonan, Minister for Industry and Employment.

“We know that some people in our community face multiple barriers to work, which is why we are helping thousands of Victorians find sustainable jobs.”

All of Online PAWS’ profits are directed back into helping young people find work, in similar fashion to Whitelion’s other social enterprises – Wheely Good Coffee and fruit2work.

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