An community campaign to create apprenticeships and traineeships for young people is on target to hit 1000 jobs this summer.
WestVic Staffing Solutions first launched the job creation campaign four years ago and since then has created 743 jobs - 100 jobs in 100 days in the first two years, and 200 jobs in 100 days the past two years.
Chief executive officer Dean Luciani said that when they realised they were 257 jobs short of hitting 1000 jobs over a five-year period, they decided to make it their goal.
"Statistics and data tell us that we are bucking a national trend in our job creation, particularly in apprenticeships and traineeships for young people," Mr Luciani said.
"It's something I think we should all be really proud of.
"It's not just a job creation strategy, it's a youth retention strategy as well."
He said youth unemployment in the south-west was about 7.2 per cent compared with the state average of 9.3 per cent.
However, while the overall unemployment rate hovers around three per cent in the south-west, youth unemployment was still more than double.
"The job's never done. Even though we have a low unemployment rate, the youth unemployment rate is still double the overall unemployment rate and we should never be happy with that," Mr Luciani said.
Having worked in the industry statewide for more than two decades, Mr Luciani said he had never seen a community support jobs initiatives like the south-west.
"It's pretty special," he said. "We've been really lucky to have a supportive community right across the region to provide these opportunities for the region's youth."
Not only was Westvic getting young people into apprenticeships and traineeships, the completion rates were as high as 85 to 90 per cent - well above the Australian average of 50 per cent, Mr Luciani said.
Glassing and glazing apprentice Joseph Dwyer, 24, was among the first to secure employment through the jobs campaign four years ago.
He will soon finish his apprenticeship through Westvic Staffing Solutions, which has included spending three-day blocks at trade school in Melbourne every five weeks, and plans to stay working at Williams Glass and Doors.
"It was a good opportunity to get a trade," Mr Dwyer said.
With building activity strong in Warrnambool, he said work had been "flat out" over the past four years. "It's been good. I get to do my own thing now, I've got my own work vehicle," he said.
Mr Dwyer's work includes installation of framing, mirrors, glass, doors and splashbacks on big commercial jobs as well as new homes and renovations.
Mr Luciani said each job created through the campaign had a qualification attached to it.
He said building construction apprenticeships and traineeships topped the list of vacancies across the country.
"Apprenticeships and traineeships generally speaking are an early indicator of how an economy is going," he said.
"Building and construction in particular is also an early indicator, so when building's hot a lot of apprentices get employed.
"It's probably reflective of how the region's going as a whole."
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