Glenn Davis loves his kids and loves the Manning Valley.
Three years ago he packed up his tools, his family and moved from Mudgee to Taree.
He chose to ignore the "smack talk about Taree being the dead end of the earth" and "just started working on the tools, towing a trailer, going to work, going home and then sitting on the computer until midnight doing paperwork."
Today his business employees six staff and an apprentice and Glenn is considering adding another apprentice to the Distinctive Building Co team in the new year.
It is absolute rot for anybody to say there is no opportunity in Taree, what limits growth is getting dedicated and committed people who want to have a go.- Glenn Davis
He believes "opportunities are here" and our "youth aren't being encouraged enough at school to consider apprenticeships, traineeships, or other career paths that include on-the-job training."
"Schools are so focused on year 11 course selection, ATAR and university."
About four months ago Glenn and his son, Jeremy, 15, attended a Taree High School year 11 course selection night. The events on that night proved to be a catalyst for action.
"The messages of 'you've got to do well, you've got to get a good ATAR, you've got to make sure you've selected the right subjects', they were really hyping it up, putting so much pressure on the kids. I left there feeling anxious so just imagine the impact on the kids.
"There was not one mention about traineeships, apprenticeships, or other career paths. It's very misleading and it got me thinking, this is not right and this is not good."
Glenn decided to take action, to try to give parents and their children access to information and access to people who offer career paths other than university.
He created the Taree Careers and Trades Day and it will be at Taree PCYC this Saturday, December 1 from 9am to 1pm.
More than 30 local businesses will be at the event - electricians, builders, tilers, beauticians, real estate agents, property managers, retailers, employment providers - and Glenn says they are keen to talk to parents and young people about employment opportunities and career pathways.
"There is a need to build connections between our schools and businesses because they're just not talking and schools don't seem to encourage any career other than university.
We’ve got to stop our kids from thinking they have to go to university or leave the region to get work. Opportunities are here.- Glenn Davis
Glenn says there is so much more that could be done to help create jobs and keep young people in this area and he looked to MidCoast Council and Member for Myall Lakes, Stephen Bromhead for assistance as he worked to get the event up and running.
“I’ve done this from an idea in my head. I emailed every single one of the councillors directly, including the mayor, not through Facebook, I emailed them, not one response, not one! Stephen Bromhead, three Facebook messages, two emails … nothing, nothing at all. It’s disgusting.
“Council doesn’t do enough to promote what we have here. We came from Mudgee where council did a lot with what they had. Here, in the Manning Valley, we’ve got a lot but they don’t do enough to promote it.
“We’ve got so much here, and anyone who has not lived anywhere else does not truly understand what we have here. The potential for growth is enormous.”
Glenn’s oldest son, Josh, last year moved to Gosford to do an air-conditioning apprenticeship, his second son, Jeremy is now at Taree High School four days-a-week and also doing a traineeship with Ray White Taree. His daughter, Holly, is 13 and decisions about a career are not on the radar.
“I love this area and I don’t want all of my kids moving away. I know I’m not alone in this, I get emails from parents saying, ‘You know what, if you keep my kid here from this event I’ll owe you for the rest of my life,” Glenn laughs.
“The businesses that are showing up on Saturday want to make a difference, to challenge the people who say ‘there are no opportunities here, Taree sucks, and say that they’ve got to move away’.
“I’m extremely passionate about this and if I can help one person to get a start, or realise from this event that, ‘Hey, I want to be a tiler, or I want to be an electrician or I want to be … then I’ll be happy.”
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