This article first appeared in The Island Observer on 6 July 2020.
Kangaroo Island Country Education Fund recently received a $24,500 donation from BizRebuild to support young people get the skills and training they need to rebuild their lives following the bushfires.
Staff at employment marketplace SEEK were behind the fundraising drive to support young people on fire-ravaged Kangaroo Island to get the skills and training they need to rebuild their lives through the Business Council's BizRebuild community initiative.
The KI education fund helps buy textbooks and laptops for university students, purchase tools and equipment for apprentices and assists rural and regional youth to relocate to take up career opportunities.
General the Hon. Sir Peter Cosgrove AK, CVO, MC (Retd). is the chairman of BizRebuild.
"While many people have been focussed on the COVID-19 pandemic, BizRebuild is still working in communities across the country to give them the hope they need, to keep their local business open and to help them bounce back," Mr Cosgrove said.
"After a devastating bushfire wiped out about one third of Kangaroo Island, the impact has been felt right across the community."
"We are delighted to support BizRebuild and the KICEF to help young people further their education and enable employment opportunities," SEEK managing director Australia and New Zealand Kendra Banks said.
"Our employees could see the devastation around the country and wanted to help in any way they could. Across SEEK, teams came together to work on a number of initiatives, including customer relief, volunteering activities and fundraising efforts, which has resulted in today's contribution."
Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott said giving young people the skills they need helped build resilience.
"Business is the glue that keeps communities together. Whether it is bushfires or global pandemics, we need businesses to pull through and keep communities alive and that's why building resilience is absolutely crucial," she said.
Kangaroo Island Country Education Fund co-coordinator and Kangaroo Island Tourism, Food, Wine and Beverage Association chairman Pierre Gregor welcomed the donation.
"The Island has been hit extremely hard by fires and now COVID is impacting its economic and social fabric, and the ability of some families to support the further education aspirations of their children," Mr Gregor said.
"The financial support facilitated through BizRebuild and provided by SEEK is very much appreciated and will be used to assist between 20 and 40 in the pursuit of further education.
"The generosity of SEEK employees and management is overwhelming and will go a long way to supporting KICEFs charter during a particularly demanding time.
"KICEF fundraising is usually supported from local business on the Island however a number have experienced significant damage or financial hardship this year so this funding will help us continue to support youth while those businesses rebuild."
In addition to this support, BizRebuild has distributed 74 re-tooling and service vouchers valued at $98,500 on the Island to help get businesses back up and running so they can pay wages and keep the local economy running.
A proposal for workers' accommodation is underway at the KI Western Caravan Park to support the bushfire recovery of the western end of the Island and in Flinders Chase National Park.
Earlier this year, in collaboration with the Minderoo Foundation, BizRebuild contributed $27,000 to help deliver recovery pods for displaced residents on the Island.