JOB ORDEAL: Elizabeth Dennis, a former Southern Downs young leader, has been looking for work in Warwick for more than two years.
JOB ORDEAL: Elizabeth Dennis, a former Southern Downs young leader, has been looking for work in Warwick for more than two years. Jonno Colfs

Warwick jobseekers take drastic measures in job hunt

WARWICK jobseekers say the constant rejection in their hunt for work has them facing either the prospect of working for free or having to look outside the region.

While those on "the dole” are often vehemently condemned by society, the Daily News told the story this week of Kirsty Connell who has resorted to offering to work for free in order to gain the experience she needs to find full-time work after being turned down for more than 50 jobs in the past nine months.

But there are others out there in similar positions.

Former Southern Downs Regional Council young leader and Queensland Youth Parliament member Elizabeth Dennis has been job hunting in the Rose City without success for more than two years.

She said she has worked a total of four months in the past four years.

The 23-year-old has a range of qualifications in hospitality, business administration and community service.

She has diplomas in hospitality and event management, a Certificate III in Business Administration and is currently working toward to a Diploma of Community Services but can't get a job at one of Warwick's fast food restaurants.

"I was an assistant manager at Eagle Boys for three years, but was overlooked for someone younger for a similar position elsewhere,” she said.

"I'm desperate to find a job and it makes me angry that I keep being rejected for people who are probably less committed to the job and to working than I am.

"I might cost a little more, but surely that's got to be worth it for someone reliable and committed?”

Miss Dennis said she was constantly job hunting.

"I'm trying everything and I don't care what sort of job I can get,” she said.

"A job is a job.

"But I'm going to have to start looking in Toowoomba and Brisbane just to find a job.”

Kirsty Connell said she would work for free to show she was serious.

"I want to further myself and contribute to society,” she said.

"I want to find full-time work, and if I need to work for free to get the experience needed for that, then that's what I'll do.”

Read Kirsty's story

Warwick KFC store manager Brad Ready said applicants in their 20s would struggle to gain employment without experience.

"It's more than likely someone of that age would require a wage to live on and we wouldn't be able to offer the hours to sustain that,” he said.

"I'd rather hire a junior who will work with us while they're going through school, and will be more value to the business as they grow older.”

Mr Ready said the right attitude could be what secured applicants the role.

"I think a lot of young people these days are very picky about what they'll do,” he said.

"When I'm hiring I look for team players.

"Hiring juniors is not so much about the money we pay; it's more about the chance to train to the level we want them at and to mould them for senior and management positions.”

Southern Downs mayor Tracy Dobie said young people should always ask employers why they had been overlooked.

"Also identify your skill gaps and get training to fill those,” she said. "There's a definitely a bright employment future for the people of Warwick, but it's all about identifying the jobs that will be available and training to be ready.”

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Kirsty can be contacted on 0411097796 and Elizabeth on 0434221883.