A new regional drug and alcohol program is aimed at helping young indigenous people remain in work or at school.
Work It Out has been launched with the goal of supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 30 years or younger in the Wagga region to find jobs and then remain employed, or stay engaged with their studies.
The new program is funded by Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network and will be delivered through the Pathways Murrumbidgee program in Wagga, Griffith, Leeton and Narrandera.
Work It Out will assist people whose drug or alcohol use is causing them problems, regardless of how much or how frequently they use.
There is no one-size-fits-all model, rather treatment is tailored to meet individual needs.
Senator Jim Molan launched Work it Out in Wagga on Monday.
“MPHN has put together a comprehensive program, and Federal support of over $645,000 will help assist Aboriginal people in the region gain skills and enter or continue in the workforce,” Senator Molan said.
MPHN chief executive officer Melissa Neal said the new service was commissioned to address community needs and complement other support services available to people in the Murrumbidgee region.
“This service will support Aboriginal people experiencing drug and alcohol concerns to maintain employment or continued engagement with education,” she said.
“We know that participating in work or education has positive benefits for people, their families and communities; ultimately improving health and social outcomes.”
The actual delivery of the new Work It Out program will be carried out by the Directions Health Service.
Bronwyn Hendry, the CEO of Directions Health Services, said Work It Out was a unique program because the focus was on education and employment outcomes.
“The drug and alcohol treatment and support is directly linked, but is not the sole focus. The aim will be to help people stay in their employment, get a job, or continue with their education,” Ms Hendry said.
“Some people may only need to make small changes, other people might need more support.
“Our case managers will work closely with clients as well as our partners in job networks, vocational educators and local employers to ensure the program meets the needs of participants. Keeping people engaged in the program will be key to its success.
“This service is designed to intervene early and help people aged 30 or younger gain the skills and education they need to earn a living now and in the future,” Ms Hendry said.
The program is voluntary and people can refer themselves to it.