Nambucca Local Working Towards University

Nambucca local Mikayla Smith accessed the CHESS Connect Smart, Skilled & Hired Youth Employment Program to support her goal to study at University.

Nambucca local Mikayla Smith graduated high school in 2018 and had been working to save money to support her goal to study at University. She knew from a young age that she wanted to study law but decided to take a gap year to save and prepare. When Mikayla left school she had already been working at the Nambucca Boatshed Café for 2 years, but needed to find supplement employment to follow her goals of moving away from family, to Queensland to study.

Motivated to achieve financial security and find work in her local area, Mikayla decided to approach CHESS Connect for assistance.

Connecting with Smart, Skilled & Hired

Mikayla was greeted by staff in the CHESS Connect Nambucca office and was encouraged to join the Smart, Skilled & Hired Youth Employment Program. The Smart, Skilled & Hired program is a voluntary program that helps young people become work ready or kick-start a fulfilling career. This is achieved by supporting participants to connect to training, mentoring, work experience placements, and other supports to build their skills and experience.

After engaging with the program CHESS Connect Youth Mentor Annie supported and encouraged Mikayla, giving her the confidence to apply for work at the Nambucca Heads RSL. Being a licensed premise and wanting bar experience for future university work opportunities, Mikayla needed her RSA and RCG Certificates – which are both expensive. CHESS Connect stepped in to pay for training so Mikayla could attain both certificates and upgrade her driver’s licence to a green provisional license.

Working towards University

With her RSA and RCG Mikayla was able to secure employment at Nambucca RSL. In her new role, Mikayla was mentored by RSL CEO Wendy Mills and the team at the RSL to increase skills and knowledge in the hospitality industry.

As an added incentive Mikayla received a $750 ‘bonus’ from the Smart, Skilled & Hired Program for reaching 26 weeks of employment – a goal of program, which aims to place young people into stable employment across NSW.

Mikayla was also asked to speak in front of school leavers during an event at the RSL, passing on her experience to other young jobseekers looking for employment in Nambucca Shire.

Mikayla speaking to school leavers at the Nambucca RSL


Mikayla has now moved on from employment at the RSL to pursue another prospect as an administrator at AC Testing Services in Nambucca Heads, a role that has created new opportunities to support her future career goals.

“I would like to say a massive thank you for the incredible opportunities I have received from all three of my employers. Thank you to the CHESS Connect team (especially Annie) and the Smart, Skilled & Hired program for providing me endless support, both emotionally and financially. And thank you also for the $750 bonus that I will be putting toward my future University education.” – Mikayla Smith, Nambucca Local


Want to learn more about Employment Services at CHESS Connect? Visit our Employment Page for more information on our local supports or Enquire Today!

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The Smart Skilled and Hired Youth Employment Program is delivered by CHESS Connect in partnership with CoAct Employment.