Norlane sewing center to help create jobs

A new state government-supported sewing center in Norlane is providing employment and training opportunities for refugee and migrant women in Geelong.

State government funding of $188,000 enabled Melbourne-based social enterprise Assembled Threads to open the regional center, paying for sewing machines, fabric, training and employee salaries .

Ten local women have started two weeks of intensive paid training in garment production, leading to an Industry and Skills Certificate III training qualification from the Holmesglen Institute.

Once the training is complete, the new employees will start producing environmentally friendly and ethically sourced clothing, including face masks and PPE, which could be ordered by local businesses.

Assembled Threads provides training and employment opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds who may face barriers to employment due to limited English skills and qualifications not officially recognized in Victoria.

The Norlane hub is Assembled Threads’ second site alongside its Moonee Ponds site, which opened in November 2020.

Multicultural Affairs Minister Ros Spence said the scheme would help reduce barriers to women entering the workforce.

“Women from immigrant and refugee backgrounds face additional barriers to finding employment, so we’re working with organizations like Assembled Threads to provide that first step on the ladder,” she said.

Lara MP John Eren said it was especially nice to see the pilot running in Norlane and adding to the North Suburb’s manufacturing history.

“We are proud to support training and employment opportunities for the northern suburbs of Geelong, while helping to stimulate ethical manufacturing,” he said.

The project is funded through the Government’s Priority Response to Multicultural Communities During Coronavirus Grants, which helps multicultural and multifaith communities respond to the challenges of the pandemic and promote COVID-safe behaviors.

Previous funding rounds have supported over 320 culturally and linguistically diverse community organizations with funding totaling $17.5 million.

Funding applications are still open to support emergency food aid for multicultural communities.


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