Youth workers hard to keep in Katherine - special series, Part Two

JOB PROSPECTS: Anglicare Youth Service program manager Rita Ekberg has lived in Katherine for two years.
JOB PROSPECTS: Anglicare Youth Service program manager Rita Ekberg has lived in Katherine for two years.

Most young people who move to Katherine come here for a job. 

If they are not happy at work, they are not going to stay. 

Anglicare Youth Service program manager Rita Ekberg said it is important for organisations to provide its staff with professional development and learning opportunities. 

“Most people move to Katherine for their jobs and that is what will keep them here. If they do not like their job they are not going to stay,” Ms Ekberg said. 

“Katherine is a really interesting place to work and there are lots of opportunities for young people to use and develop their skills. There are always new things happening. 

“This is a really good place to learn.”

Ms Ekberg said if you are in a workplace where you are learning and feeling valued, you are more likely to stay.

“Katherine needs to embrace new and younger workers and assist them to make their transitions as smooth as possible, so we as a community can get the most out of them during their time here,” she said.

“I think workplaces can do a lot, having good professional development and study opportunities makes people feel valued and more likely to stay.”

Ms Ekberg who hails from Tallarook in country Victoria, has lived in Katherine for two years.

“I really like the NT, I had spent time in the Territory for a number of years so it is not surprising that I ended up here,” Ms Ekberg said. 

“Expecting people to stay forever is not realistic, there is a high turnover of staff but organisations need to use what they can while people are here.”

She said rather than trying to get people to stay in Katherine forever, more focus should be put on extracting their potential while they are here. 

“I think yes, young people come and go, but it is about perspective. It can be a real benefit having young people from different areas coming here for a short period of time, but it is a challenge for organisations,” Ms Ekberg said. 

“The challenge is making the most of them while they are here, and having good processes in place to hand over information to the next person,” she said. 

“I think workplaces should have really thorough induction processes and be smart about how they induct people. That way they have better staff while they are here.”

Anglicare CEO Dave Pugh said young people under thirty change jobs every 18 months. 

“People have been forever complaining about the turnover of young people,” Mr Pugh said. 

“For us it is part of the way we do business in the NT. We accept that turnover is at 20 per cent per anum. 

“Organisations have to accept that is a part of life and while we can try to improve it a little bit, we structure our organisation so it can cope despite people coming and going.”

Tomorrow’s installment – health.