Training programs to help local businesses and residents

City of Newcastle

City of Newcastle is investing almost $400,000 in training programs designed to help locals make the most of Newcastle’s emerging economic opportunities.

From assisting businesses to become more inclusive, to building resilience to market disruptions including COVID-19, the training programs seek to close skills gaps in the local workforce.


Funded under City of Newcastle’s NewSkills program, the training will be delivered by specialist training providers through workshops, self-paced learning, intensive programs and mentoring over the next 12 months.

NewSkills follows on from the City’s highly successful Product Development Mentoring Program which provided 15 local businesses with training and business to business mentoring on how to develop tourism products that leveraged Newcastle’s unique offering to appeal to visitors to sustain and grow Newcastle’s visitor economy.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said investing in people sits at the heart of City of Newcastle’s Economic Development Strategy and is the key to economic growth.

“Newcastle’s economic future will be built on the talent, skills and ingenuity of our people,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Business owners, workers and entrepreneurs with diverse skill sets will be better placed to capitalise on opportunities, invest money in the local community and create jobs.”

Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said that City of Newcastle is proud to be providing strong investment towards skills training that will encourage economic diversification to further support local small business growth.

“This investment in training through our NewSkills program will provide tangible benefits to the wider Newcastle community, whether it’s encouraging residents to turn their side hustle ideas into fledgling start-ups, providing the digital skills needed to drive automation, innovation and growth through technology, or making Newcastle a more appealing destination for residents and visitors by encouraging businesses to improve the access, inclusion and culture of their service for people with disability,” Cr Clausen said.

Among the training programs to receive funding is a 12-week course delivered by Flare Access on adapting a business to be more inclusive.

Flare Access founder and occupational therapist, Sarah O’Mara said she is looking forward to supporting Newcastle businesses with the confidence and know-how required to improve the access of their services and to create better awareness around disability, accessibility and inclusion, as part of City of Newcastle’s NewSkills program.

“Our 12-week program provides businesses with the tools and solutions needed to incorporate low cost, high impact inclusive practices, which break down barriers and enable both economic growth for businesses and social inclusion for the disabled community, improving accessibility for all,” Ms O’Mara said.

This type of training has been welcomed by Clear Sky Australia, who operates Clear Paws in Adamstown, a registered disability service provider that offers opportunities for people living with a disability to be supported and assessed in a variety of employability skills.

Clear Paws owner Patrick Bellamy encourages more businesses in Newcastle to offer employment training opportunities to people living with disabilities.

“It’s great to see City of Newcastle investing in programs that encourage local businesses to be more inclusive to benefit of the whole community,” Mr Bellamy said.

“Employment training opportunities for people living with a disability are very limited in Newcastle, so we made the decision to open Clear Paws, which provides a supportive caring environment for those living with a disability to develop employability skills.

“People with disability bring a range of skills, talents and abilities to the workplace. We see Clear Paws as a launching pad for its participants to make the transition to employment.”

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