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Armidale Regional Employment and Agriculture Project receives Commonwealth funding

Mosaic Multicultural Connections (Mosaic) is excited to announce we have received funding from the Workforce Australia Local Jobs National Priority Fund for the Regional Employment and Agriculture Project (REAP) for job seekers from migrant and refugee backgrounds in Armidale through to June 2025.

REAP is made possible by a continuing partnership between Mosaic and The Rotary Club of Armidale. REAP will provide a range of opportunities for Ezidi community members and others to build on existing skills and abilities, address barriers, and support pathways to employment and small enterprise development in the local agricultural industry and related sectors.

‘The Armidale community already has awareness of REAP from the pilot activities Mosaic and The Rotary Club of Armidale have undertaken together with the Ezidi community. The initial group of Ezidi participants are into their second vegetable growing season, the produce from which is supporting Ezidi families and community needs and has also been sold by the Ezidi community at Rotary-supported local market stalls. Recently, 12 Ezidi community members graduated from agricultural machinery courses delivered in partnership with Armidale TAFE. Mosaic is very pleased to be able to continue our partnership with Rotary and the Ezidi community, using the learnings and momentum of the pilot to deliver the comprehensive REAP vision,’ said chief executive officer of Mosaic, Ms Sharon Daishe.

Two Armidale Rotarians, Bruce McCarthy and Andrew Spinks, have each generously donated access to 10 acres of land on their farms for local Ezidi people to apply and adapt their existing agricultural skills to farming in Armidale, and develop new skills under the mentorship of Armidale Rotary members. Additionally, the landholders have supplied water and infrastructure, and volunteered many hours of land preparation work. Overall, Rotarians have already contributed over 3,000 hours of voluntary labour and advice to the Ezidi community along with providing funding for infrastructure and other support.

REAP activities will also include formal and informal training, mentoring, farm visits, running market stalls and small businesses, English in a workplace context and other opportunities to support the Ezidi community and other migrant job seekers to become financially secure and thrive in the Armidale community. REAP will work in collaboration with existing local employment service providers, vocational training organisations, small business programs and the multicultural sector.

The REAP pilot has demonstrated the value of the REAP vision, assisting Mosaic to secure Commonwealth government funding. Alongside the investment of our own funds, Mosaic thanks P&G Initiatives, a supporting not for profit organisation, who provided funding to support a bi-lingual agricultural worker during the pilot phase, and The Rotary Club of Armidale for their generous contributions which formed the basis of the pilot, and continues to make REAP possible.

Workforce Australia Local Jobs is funded by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations. For more information visit: https://www.dewr.gov.au/local-jobs