Skillset’s Amanda Ferguson is namesake for Women’s Central West Rugby Union Cup

Skillset’s Amanda Ferguson is namesake for Women’s Central West Rugby Union Cup

Skillset Workforce are so incredibly proud of our own Regional Manager, Amanda Ferguson!

The former Wallaroos train-on squad member has received the “absolute honour” of having this year’s women’s league, in which last year’s Blowes Clothing Cup and GrainCorp Cup have been combined, named in recognition of her efforts and dedication to rugby.

Amanda has been a huge advocate of promoting the women’s game and we couldn’t think of a better person to be looked up to by young women in the game!

Article originally posted on Central Western Daily. 

The chance to win a trophy named after yourself is pretty rare, but that’s exactly what Orange Emus, Central West and NSW Country stalwart Amanda Ferguson has this year in Central West Rugby Union’s new-look women’s competition.

Ferguson has been involved with rugby as a player, a coach and an administrator since she found the game in high school and, in particular, has always focused specifically on promoting the women’s game.

As a result, the former Wallaroos train-on squad member has received the “absolute honour” of having this year’s women’s league, in which last year’s Blowes Clothing Cup and GrainCorp Cup have been combined, named in recognition of her efforts.

Starting in Saturday’s opening round, her Orange Emus and the competition’s 10 other title contenders will compete for the Westfund Amanda Ferguson Cup.

“I would never, ever have expected this, I’m pretty speechless,” a beaming Ferguson said at the competition’s launch on Wednesday morning.

“It’s an absolute honour. I’m chuffed. At Emus we’ve got a lot of new girls so I’m only playing to try and help them develop, and pass my passion on, but I guess winning the trophy would be interesting.

“Moving to 11 teams, we’ll get regular games and tough competition. It’s a great step for growth as individuals, teams and then for the competition itself.

“We just don’t know what we’ll come up against, no team can be taken for granted you know, there’s a sense of unknown about it which makes it more exciting.

“Obviously Bathurst Bulldogs won the Blowes Clothing Cup last year and West Wyalong were always really strong and consistent in the GrainCorp Cup, so they’ll be tough to beat and probably have a point to prove, they’ll want to stamp their authority on the new competition.”

That continued growth of the women’s game is what excites Ferguson the most, with Central West’s bumper league becoming another stepping stone on the path to the top just like this season’s inaugural Super W competition has at the elite level.

“With the amazing, exciting opportunities women have in the game now, well, I wish I was 20 years younger,” Ferguson laughed.

“It’s just so exciting. I can’t encourage people more to get involved, just get involved and try it. You know, with the success we’ve had at sevens and the Wallaroos doing well at the World Cup too, there’s a lot of interest around the women’s game and that’s great.”

The 2018 Westfund Amanda Ferguson Cup kicks off on Saturday, Bulldogs host Cowra, Orange City hosts CSU Bathurst, Cootamundra hosts Temora, Dubbo Rhinos and West Wyalong face-off in Parkes while Ferguson’s Emus travel to Grenfell to play Harden.

Good News for Youth Unemployment as Pledge250 Reaches Target

Good News for Youth Unemployment as Pledge250 Reaches Target

Hines Construction - Pledge 250 - Skillset Workforce

Skillset Workforce hits Pledge250 target! 

The Skillset Workforce Pledge 250 jobs campaign reached its 250th job target last week, coinciding with a recent Brotherhood of St Laurence Report highlighting significant decreases in youth unemployment across the Central West, Far West and Orana regions.

Skillset Workforce Senior Manager Jane McWilliam said it’s enormously encouraging to see the youth unemployment rates decreasing so significantly over the past two years. “Since January 2016 youth unemployment in the Central West has decreased by 5.3 per cent and in the Far West/Orana by an astonishing 10.4 per cent. We launched our first Pledge 250 campaign in November 2016 and while there are other contributing factors we believe we have had a small part to play in this incredible turnaround. We would like to thank all of the businesses who have pledged jobs and helped change so many young people’s lives.”

The 250th job, pledged by Hines Construction, was for a Contracts Administrator. Edward Lindsay, who is completing an apprenticeship with Skillset Workforce was the successful candidate. Lindsay said he is excited to be able to forge a career in Construction. “To be able to move into full-time work at the end my apprenticeship is awesome and I can’t thank Hines Construction enough for giving a young person like me this opportunity to grow my career in the Construction Industry.”

Hines Construction Managing Director David Hines said that his company has a major focus on employing local people and is delighted to have pledged 6 jobs for the Pledge250 Campaign. “Employing local people is an important focus here at Hines Constructions and we believe that we have some of the most highly skilled employees in the Central West. Partnering with Skillset Workforce allows us to focus on our business and takes the stress of recruitment off our shoulders.”

Skillset run a number of programs such as Skills4Trade, Youth Connect and Skillset Workforce Mentor Plus to help local youth in our region build their skill base for employment. Skillset CEO Craig Randazzo said Skillset Workforce is working with local businesses to identify what skills are needed. “Since November 2017, 67 per cent of jobs pledged were apprenticeships and traineeships. The campaign doesn’t stop here and it is our goal to continue to lower youth unemployment rates by working with local businesses to identify their needs and upskill our youth for their best chance of employment.”

To find out more about Skillset Workforce programs that are currently running please call 1300 853 525, email or visit

Check out the Prime7 News Central West Story here.

Moolarben Coal and Skillset Workforce lend a helping hand in Mudgee

Moolarben Coal and Skillset Workforce lend a helping hand in Mudgee

Twenty Mudgee locals kicked off new careers with Moolarben Coal this year, demonstrating Moolarben’s ongoing commitment to the local community through employment and training.

Recruited and employed by Skillset Workforce, the new starters are working in a range of roles including electrical, heavy plant and fixed plant mechanical apprenticeships, underground and surface operators and drill and blast traineeships.

Moolarben Coal General Manager Steve Archinal acknowledged the boost the new recruits bring to the workforce.

“We are proud to be involved with Skillset and to provide members of our community with new skills and an opportunity within our workforce. Additionally, our people find it a rewarding experience to be a part of this program, teaching teamwork and commitment,” said Steve.

These roles form part of the Skillset Workforce Pledge250 Jobs Campaign, which aims to address youth unemployment across the region.

With the Campaign currently at 237 jobs created, Skillset Workforce Senior Manager Jane McWilliam says they are almost.

“We are really committed to making a difference, both in people’s lives and in our regional communities, and we need businesses to help us do this. We need to work together to grow the skills and people our region needs for now and into the future. Moolarben Coal are paving the way and we encourage other businesses to get on board and commit to the future through jobs and training.”

Have a look at the great Prime News Story.

To find out more about Skillset Workforce and Pledge250 visit or call 1300 853 525.

Mentor Plus Launched Today

Mentor Plus Launched Today

Skillset launched their new support service, Skillset Workforce Mentor Plus, for apprentices and trainees in the Construction and Mining industries across the Central, Western and New England regions of NSW today in Bathurst.

On 31 January 2018, the Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, the Hon Karen Andrews MP, announced the 24 organisations selected to deliver the Australian Government’s new Industry Specialist Mentoring for Australian Apprentices (ISMAA) program.
The Australian Government has recognised Skillset’s expertise and experience in providing specialist support to apprentices and trainees for over 35 years by selecting them to deliver the ISMAA service. The ISMAA program will provide intensive support for over 40,000 Australian Apprentices in the first two years of their training in a wide range of industries undergoing structural change.
The support provided to Australian Apprentices will help address particular career and skills development concerns related to their specific industry and situation. Through the ISMAA program, Skillset Workforce Mentor Plus will provide Australian Apprentices with regular one on one contact with highly skilled mentors who have skills sets that enable them to service the targeted cohort.
Skillset CEO Mr Craig Randazzo says the new service will provide valuable support to apprentices and trainees across much of regional NSW. “We are incredibly excited to have been selected to deliver this new program, and to know that we will be able to make a difference – to the apprentices and trainees, and also to the businesses where they work. Everyone benefits from improved apprenticeship completion rates, and in industries that have been undergoing change this is particularly important.”

Skillset Workforce Plus Mentor Plus Program Manager Ben Ruddy Senior Manager Jane McWilliam Chair David Cooke Mentor Jacqueline Breen and Acting Engagement and Support Manager Sandra Gray

Skillset Workforce Mentor Plus Program Manager Ben Ruddy with 1st year apprentice and Mentor Plus client Kaled Jawai at Hort Engineering

200th Job Pledged!

200th Job Pledged!

Dubbo Regional Council has pledged two new horticulture apprenticeship jobs to take the Skillset Workforce Pledge250 Campaign to the 200 mark.

The Pledge250 Jobs Campaign was initiated by Skillset Workforce for the second time in November last year to address high youth unemployment across Regional NSW, and aims to reach 250 jobs by the end of March.

Skillset Workforce Senior Manager Jane McWilliam says it is gratifying to see so many local businesses and councils supporting the campaign, providing jobs and skills for local people.

“We are delighted by the level of support we are getting for the campaign, every single job can change a life, and helps supports our regional communities. Dubbo Regional Council have been great providers of apprenticeships and traineeships over many years and we thank them for their important contribution.”

Mayor of Dubbo Region Councillor Ben Shields said the apprenticeships are part of an ongoing commitment by Council to employ and train local young people “We believe it is really important to provide jobs and training for people in Dubbo, and are pleased to have helped this jobs campaign reach the 200 milestone. I encourage other councils and businesses out there to get on board and provide local employment.”

To find out more about the apprenticeships with Dubbo Regional Council visit, for more information on the Pledge250 Jobs campaign call 1300 853525 or go to

Skillset Workforce Consultant Rodney Ney with Dubbo Region Mayor Councillor Ben Shields.

Additional Support For Apprentices Announced Today

Additional Support For Apprentices Announced Today

Skillset is delighted to advise that we have been selected by the Australian Government to deliver additional support to apprentices and trainees across central & western NSW and the New England, under the $60m Industry Specialist Mentoring for Australian Apprentices (ISMAA) program announced today by the Minister. This service will be delivered by Skillset Workforce Mentor Plus to apprentices and trainees in the construction and mining industries.

This very exciting new program, funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training, recognizes our experience and expertise in supporting apprentices and trainees and will provide much needed additional support in industries undergoing structural change.

For more details about Skillset Workforce Mentor Plus call 0427 751 816 or visit

Please find below the link to the Ministers announcement for more details of the program