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Regional program puts Kimba trainees on pathway to Council careers

Traineeship collaboration gives future leaders insight into vital local government contribution

Keely Westhoff and Hayley Jericho with Mayor and CEO

TRAINEE TALK: The latest member of the District Council of Kimba’s Corporate Services team, Hayley Jericho, discusses the function of local government with Mayor Dean Johnson, Senior Administration Officer Keely Westhoff and Chief Executive Officer Deb Larwood after joining the organisation through the Regional Youth Traineeship Program. 

An innovative collaboration between regional Councils, the Local Government Association of South Australia (LGA) and the state government is allowing the District Council of Kimba to provide a local solution to trainees wanting to carve out a career in the public sector.

Through the Regional Youth Traineeship Program (RYTP), which is funded by the South Australian government and coordinated by the LGA, Council has celebrated the recruitment of its second trainee in 12 months, who is now being mentored by the program’s first Kimba success story.

The newest member of the Council team, Hayley Jericho, commenced her traineeship on April 3 and said she was looking forward to completing a formal qualification with a frontline insight into the role local government plays in regional communities.

“Since beginning my traineeship at the District Council of Kimba, I’m really looking forward to gaining real-life experience in the workforce while also furthering my studies through Career Employment Group,” she said.

“I’m really excited where this may lead me in the future.”

Ms Jericho is being mentored by Senior Administration Officer Keely Westhoff, who finished her 12-month trainee in January with a Certificate III in Business and Certificate III in Business Administration before securing a permanent role with Council’s Corporate Services team.

“‘My traineeship has given me the opportunity to gain invaluable knowledge and skills in relation to local government,” Ms Westhoff explained.

“I started my traineeship having extremely limited knowledge about the positive impact that Councils have on the community – my experience over the past year has allowed me to see exactly what happens in Local government, and just how much Councils do for their communities.”

She added that the RYTP provided the stepping stone required to put her on the pathway to a long-term career in Local government, and urged other regional youth to explore the opportunity.

“My dedication and willingness to learn throughout my traineeship has now provided me the opportunity to work my way up the ladder and gain full-time employment in my local Council,” Ms Westhoff said.

Mayor Dean Johnson congratulated both women on their traineeship achievements and said the program had played an unexpected role in helping Council contribute to Kimba’s social and economic sustainability.

“In communities across regional South Australia, Councils are often one of the largest employers of locals, and it’s no different in Kimba” he said.

“The Regional Youth Traineeship Program has allowed our Council to provide employment opportunities to two members of the community, which is setting them up in local government, but also boosting Kimba’s economy by ensuring our future leaders have the capacity to remain in regional parts of the Eyre Peninsula while developing their careers.

“Keely and Hayley have set an extremely high bar for trainees in the program, and I’d like to thank the state government and the LGA for driving this great initiative.”

LGA President Lorraine Rosenberg echoed Mayor Johnson’s comments and said the RYTP was setting regional Councils up for the next generation of local leadership.

“The Regional Youth Traineeship Program is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when state government, Councils and the LGA work together,” Mayor Rosenberg said.

“In regional SA, this program helps young people aged 17 to 24 gain practical work experience and qualifications, without having to leave their communities.

“This is important, as it helps keep our regional communities alive and sustainable.

“It also provides participating Councils with an injection of youth and energy, and assists with their strategies to address maturing workforces.”


District Councl of Kimba

Cross Street (PO Box 189)

Kimba SA 5641