Oakeshott envisages Coffs as a centre for emergency services training and operations | Rob Oakeshott | Independent for Cowper

Independent candidate for Cowper Rob Oakeshott says emergency services training and capacity on the Mid North Coast has been under-valued too long and can be be part of a future jobs and education growth networking strategy for the region.

[With Eagle owner, Grant Boyter]

"With record high youth unemployment, we need a range of options to work our way out of this problem. Using education to drive a jobs strategy is central to my plan," Mr Oakeshott said.

"One area I'm particularly interested in for the Coffs/Nambucca region is a link up between the strong network of emergency services to a new generation of training and education opportunities. It would build local pathways for young people to pursue.

"It could, for example, be led by Southern Cross Uni and the Coffs Harbour Education Campus in partnership with other highly-regarded emergency services Universities – national and international. Linking in with existing police, ambulance, lifeguards, SES, and other registered training organisations would create the kind of career pathways so desperately needed in our region," Oakeshott said.

"The private sector also can also play a role – and reap benefits.

"For instance, in the business park at the airport a company like Eagle Australasia has expressed interest in working with a Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter based in Coffs if we can make that happen," said Oakeshott.

"Local surf clubs could then kick in, training up to gold standard for possible chopper crew positions, leading to increased capacity-building for the entire search and rescue team.

"This is just one example of the networking and facilitation work a local MP tapped into his community can undertake. It is an example of what could be one piece of the puzzle in dealing with our shockingly high level of youth unemployment," Oakeshott said.

"This same model can be applied to manufacturing, retail, and any number of break-out strategies where we maximise what we’ve got for the benefit of all.

This will only happen with a community-focused Independent MP. I have been through this process before. I know it works. I am busting to do it again in the Coffs/Nambucca region," said Oakeshott.

[Meeting last month with Roger Fry from Westpac Lifesaver helicopters]

For further details, please contact Deb Spillane

E: media@oakeshott.com.au

M: 0418 603513