NSW Nationals Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke is encouraging businesses to register their interest in mentoring and building vocational skills in young people to help divert them away from crime and into education and employment opportunities.

The new RISEUP program was developed personally by NSW Police Commissioner Michael Fuller APM and will run state-wide in partnership with Police Citizens Youth Clubs (PCYC) and local businesses.

The program is designed to help disengaged 15- to 18-year-olds remain on the right side of the law and have a bright working future.

Ms Cooke said this initiative has the potential to make a real difference.

“The RISEUP program links young people with employers to receive real-life, on-the-job training in the workforce, and includes workshops on leadership, relationship-building, and practical education to boost numeracy and literacy,” she said. “As a community it is vital that we work with vulnerable teens so they can develop into thriving, accomplished and well-rounded individuals. I encourage Cootamundra electorate businesses to get on board with this worthwhile initiative and help boost the employment prospects of our local young people.”

Minister for Police Troy Grant said the PCYC and NSW Police Force do remarkable work engaging young people in sport and recreational activities and diverting them away from a life of crime.

“RISEUP builds on this success, developing teenagers’ vocational skills, connecting them with business and increasing their self-esteem to take their life in a positive direction,” Mr Grant said.

Commissioner Fuller said it has been his long-held view that by investing in preventative strategies with our young people, we can save a generation of children from a life of crime.

“Importantly, employment gives our youth a sense of achievement, pride and structure they might not be getting in a traditional family environment and it’s humbling to know we have some of the country’s biggest businesses standing beside us to support our future leaders,” Commissioner Fuller said.

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