Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation recently announced the recipients of the Next Economy Jobs Challenge Initiative. These grants will support education and training opportunities for young people.

The Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Catherine Brown OAM congratulated Green Collect and Sweet Justice for their innovative and future focussed programs. “Green Collect and Sweet Justice are enabling young people to participate in two important industries in recycling and waste management, and beekeeping and sustainable food system practices.”

Green Collect is an award-winning social enterprise that specialises in finding the best environmental outcomes for a wide variety of hard-to-recycle items from the office and at home. The social enterprise is undergoing an enormous growth phase and has moved into a bigger warehouse so it can manage the demand for their services by increasing its capacity to process more material.

The Foundation’s grant of $100,000 will ensure that staff have the skills and are well trained to manage this expansion.

Green Collect employs young people at-risk and people from homelessness and refugee backgrounds. Staff will develop and deliver training in new areas related to resource recovery practices, circular economy and sustainable supply chain management. This project will also build partnerships with local businesses in Melbourne’s West to provide pathways and post-placement support in logistics, warehousing and supply-chain operations. Green Collect will also partner with local TAFEs to deliver Certificates II & III in warehouse and supply-chain operations.

Sweet Justice is a social enterprise providing supported employment for young people leaving prison with a special focus on beekeeping and honeybee health. Sweet Justice identified that there was no vocational pathway for bee keeping in Victoria which means that knowledge is passed down generationally, and with an aging bee keeping population, this knowledge is in danger of being lost.

The Foundation’s grant of $98,000 will assist Sweet Justice to develop the first accredited training program in beekeeping and to become a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). This will enable Sweet Justice to become an employer that provides trainees with qualifications and employment continuity from prison to parole and beyond.

Sweet Justice provides pollination services, produces honey, queen bees, nucleus hives, and home and beauty products for domestic and export markets. It plans to provide 35 trained and qualified commercial beekeepers to the industry for employment at the end of each year.

These two important projects are powerful because they are bringing environmental needs together with jobs as part of a sustainable economy.